Power Ministry Wants NERC to Admit New Operators in Discos, Gencos

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to admit new operators into the distribution and generation sectors of Nigeria’s electricity industry, to primarily stimulate competition in the two segments.

According to a communique following a retreat, which was organised for its staff last week in Owerri, Imo State, the ministry stated that it wanted the NERC to amend its licensing procedures to allow new operators come into the two segments and engender efficiency.

The communique said participants, “advocated the review of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (NERC) extant licences and regulations governing the operations of Generating Companies (Gencos) and Distribution Companies (Discos) so as to accommodate new entrants to increase competiveness and performance in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI)”.

It equally explained that participants at the retreat supported the merger of government’s agencies and parastatals whose functions are duplicated for greater efficiency and productivity.

It also noted the need to restore geo-political slots in appointing permanent secretaries in the federal public service in addition to the existing states’ representation as a means of reducing stagnation in the service.

Noting how badly acts of official corruption has affected the business of governance in the country, the civil servants stated that it was a hydra-headed monster and a major obstacle to actualising good governance, adding that it requires their collective efforts to eliminate it in the interest of Nigeria.

They, in this regard, stated their appreciation of the role of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in curbing corruption and ensuring good governance, and thus resolved to strengthen the systems, processes and structures within the ministry to fight corruption.

The communique said the workers “resolved to continue to liaise with ICPC to conduct corruption risk assessment with the aim of identifying corruption vulnerabilities and mitigating same through integrity planning”.

It urged the ICPC to always furnish the MDAs with names of erring officers found complicit in corrupt acts for disciplinary action, even as it advocated reform initiatives that will enable civil servants own and take responsibility for policies, programmes and activities in driving effective governance as it relates to productivity and target setting in respect of salary review, promotion, union matters, and adherence to the principle of federal character.

Acccording to the the communique, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, in his keynote address, urged participants to draw inspiration from the short but impactful life of late Nigerian academician, Prof. Pius Adesanmi, who died recently in an Ethiopian Airlines crash, to improve their services to the public.

He advised that as privileged citizens entrusted with enormous responsibilities, workers in the ministry should do more to impact on the society and the lives of the individuals who benefit from improvement in power, roads and housing sectors of Nigeria.

He further pointed out that public servants should be polite to clients and members of the public in the course of providing services and that a simple smile even when saying no goes a long way in building trust and understanding with the public.

Fashola added that such was the culture of service that can and must be cultivated and adopted as a style of governance in the ministry.

He also disclosed that the ministry has finally received an approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the maintenance of public infrastructure which will ensure uniform standard of maintenance for all public buildings and facilities of ministries.

According to him, the public buildings and housing department in the ministry would coordinate the implementation of the new maintenance strategy and help other ministries prepare and procure their building maintenance works.