…Vow to expose sector’s jinx
…Begin probe next week
By Chris Ochayi
Worried by the state of power outage despite Federal Government’s huge investments to the tune of N1.8 trillion in the post power assets privatisation era, the House of Representatives, Friday, vowed to begin investigations of the sector in order to unravel the jinx which is making it difficult for power consumers to get value for their money.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on power, Hon. Magaji Dawu Aliyu , who disclosed this while leading other members of the Committee on oversight visit to the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, said investigation of the power sector privatisation would begin by next week.
Hon. Aliyu added that, it was unacceptable that after several years in private hands with the government spending trillions of Naira on the sector, electricity supply has remained the same.
Recall the Federal Government had on November 30, 2013 handed over privatised companies of the defunct Power Holding Companies of Nigeria, PHCN, to private investors who acquired 60 percent stake in the companies.
Since then, the government has invested about N1.8 trillion in the sector to boost revenue and clear up legacy debts.
In spite of this, the power generation and distribution have remained low, with the country unable to cross the 5,000 megawatts threshold.
The House Committee Chairman noted that despite the complex nature of the sector, something needs to change to ensure that government’s aspiration for the sector is achieved.
He said probe that will commence on Tuesday next week will examine the roles played by all government agencies involved in the privatisation exercise including the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
According to him, “We have to commend the Transmission Company of Nigeria, so far you have been doing well but there is also room for improvement.
“For instance, if you look at the value chain, sometimes you begin to wonder which comes first: Is it the Chicken or the Egg.
“The complexity of this sector is enormous. If for instance they said that the TCN has a wheeling capacity or Transmission of 10000 megawatts, while the DISCOs can only take not more than 3,000mw and we are paying for undelivered capacities, then something has to change”.
He disclosed that the “House has just been mandated to investigate the whole power privatisation, which means that from the Bureau for Public Enterprises to the DISCOs would need to be looked at.
He urged TCN to engage local engineers and businesses in the execution of their projects, stressing that that was the only to create jobs for Nigerians and Nigerian companies.
In his remark earlier, the Acting Managing Director of TCN, Engr. Sule Abdulaziz while welcoming the legislators, solicited their support in ensuring adequate budgetary provision for the company.
He said, “The journey to the strengthening of the transmission sector must start with a critical transformation of the existing system.
“Where the Government, regulator and TCN Management will all play core roles, with the government and regulator taking the lead to create the right investment whilst TCN focus on implementing new technology, faster project execution and improving operational efficiencies.
You the Honourable Members as representative of the people and legislators have important role to play by ensuring that the populace you represent have sufficient and qualitative power supply to your constituencies which will boost economic growth in the country”.
He added that “In order to drive growth in capacity utilization, the immediate focus of the new TCN management would be on replacing or repairing existing equipment, which are failing and prone to breakdowns. Regular, proactive maintenance processes will be institutionalized to reduce the occurrence and impact of breakdowns.
“We are also going to prioritize on expanding our capacity via new projects that will span across the entire Nation. These are some of the considerations that will help in achieving the goal in improving the performance of the transmission sector. Similar approaches have been undertaken by other developing countries which Nigeria can borrow from.”