The federal government Thursday gave an indication of its plans to review the power sector privatization in the country.
The exercise will begin with 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos), the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said while speaking to newsmen in Abuja on the close of the 23rd Nigeria Economic Summit (NES).
According to the Minister, the federal government and other stakeholders have realised that critical issues needed to be addressed as quickly as possible in the power sector.
She said, . “The power sector has been privatised but I’m sure every Nigerian can attest to the fact that the privatisation has not worked well, in the sense of what we sought to achieve in terms of power efficiency.
“It has not yet happened. We have now come to the point where government which is a stakeholder in the power sector and other stakeholders must come together and decide and cede some of their holdings to new investors that will inject new funding; investors that have the expertise to grow the power sector that will serve Nigerians.”
“It’s a process that is on-going, it involves negotiating with the existing owners and also with the government in deciding the right level of holdings that will go up for another round of sale.
“The privatisation has not worked out. We discovered that many of the companies are indebted to the banks, making it difficult for them to make fresh investments in their infrastructure.
“All stakeholders must come together to grow the sector, especially in discussing with the existing owners.”
Ahmed said government will address the issue of tariffs with stakeholders as the only way to attract fresh investors.
She said, “That’s a discussion that has to be held with the new investors. It’s very clear to us that the level of tariffs that we have now is not sustainable but where the tariffs will go will be the subject of negotiations between the government, the existing investors, the new investors and consumers.
“We will try to attain some optimal level that will make an impact on the tariff structure. The starting point will be the Discos.”