Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Electricity distribution companies (Discos) yesterday kicked against the reported plans by the federal government to buy back their distribution assets, describing it as undesirable.
The Discos said through their umbrella trade association- the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED)- that they were not aware of such plans by the federal government to buy back any of the Discos for N736 billion.
ANED said a recent media report on the buy-back plan was alien to it, adding that at the moment, the Discos are committed to solving the challenges affecting retail electricity distribution in Nigeria.
In a statement by the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy of ANED, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, the Discos said such reports of the repossession as a ‘solution’ to resolving the power supply problem in the country was not desirable.
Oduntan who identified efforts at resetting the power sector said: “The federal government and the Disco investors remain committed to working in partnership to address the current challenges of retail electricity distribution, as evidenced by the recent Siemens initiative and recent regulatory activities.”
He listed other efforts that prove the collaboration of Discos and the government to include the ongoing Meter Asset Providers (MAP) programme, the distribution franchise consultations, the present wrap-up of the minor electricity tariff reviews, among others to provide affordable and consistent power supply for electricity customers.
“It is the hope and expectation of the Disco investors and operators that, collectively, the aforementioned initiatives and activities, in tandem with respect for sanctity of contract, increased regulatory and policy certainty, will provide the enabling environment that will result in a Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) that is commercially viable and sustainable, thereby attracting the desperately needed investment that continues to be elusive in the sector,” Oduntan stated.
He described the report as been sensational, noting: “This is not a desirable outcome. It is noteworthy that government is yet to pay the investor in Yola Disco for its negotiated return to government.”
Oduntan said there were doubts about the document on which the media report was based, adding that such sensationalism could scare future investors from the economy.
“We are troubled that a sector that is already bedeviled with multiple challenges now has to deal with sensationalist and irresponsible journalism rather than an informed discussion of how we can move the sector forward,” he stated.