Our reporter

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has called for the immediate review of the privatization exercise of the power sector by previous administrations. 

Lawan gave the charge in his concluding  remark on a motion considered on the floor during plenary on Tuesday. 

The motion titled: “Power Sector Recovery Plan and the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic” was sponsored by Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP – Benue North East).

He decried what he described as the “inefficiency of Power Generating and Distribution companies” in the country and called for a review or eventual reversal of the terms of privatization.

Parties involved in the shared purchase agreement with the federal government, he said, can only seek the intervention of the latter when sufficiently justified. 

“The power sector has been privatized as we all know, but it has not delivered. We gave them our common patrimony and they still came back to us as Distribution Companies (Discos) and Generating Companies (Gencos) to look for money from the public.

“I think the time has come to review, and probably reverse this privatization because if we stay as it is today, for the next ten years there will be no power in Nigeria, as the situation is. So we need to be decisive about the power sector. 

“We expected efficiency and effectiveness in power supply, but I think on both sides, the shared purchase agreements were maybe not adhered to. But definitely what is obvious is that the Discos have no capacity at the moment to give us power.

“The Gencos have challenges too, and I think it is not a good commentary that we should continue to give them money after we sold them. These are businesses now, they are private businesses.

“If there are areas that we must intervene as a government, then it must be seriously justified, but the way it is, I think there is need to review this privatization and see what has really happened, because something is certainly not right. 

“And for the next ten years, if there is nothing fundamental and drastic in this sector, nothing like power will be stable in Nigeria, and that will be unfortunate. 

“So, it is good our committee is investigating even the previous billions, in fact over a trillion. I mean that’s a lot of money and there must be justification for this. 

“We hope that they will be effective, but in the event that this thing is not addressed properly, there will be need for Government really to look into this privatization that has taken place, because probably the wrong investors took over or maybe government is not fulfilling its own promise,” Lawan said.  

Senator Gabriel Suswam who sponsored the bill had earlier explained that following the outbreak of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government through Ministry of Finance intimated the leadership of the National Assembly of plans to establish a N1.7trn Intervention Fund to be utilized to upgrade healthcare facilities across the country. 

“While the appropriate Executive Bill that will articulate the actual use of the proposed N1.7 trillion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund is yet to be presented to the Senate for consideration, the devastating impact of the pandemic on the power sector has necessitated the need for the Senate to draw the attention of the federal government to the need to include the sector in the disbursement of the proposed fund bearing in mind the vital role of stable electricity supply to current efforts towards jumpstarting the economy which is still groaning under the impact of the pandemic.” 

“Stable and uninterrupted power supply is also a critical factor in the management of COVID-19 patients at the designated isolation and treatment centres across the country as well as  in the implementation of the proposed upgrade of healthcare facilities,” he said.


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