By Emmanuel Addeh
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday said that the federal government was concluding the process of privatising the Afam Power Station and the Afam Three Fast Power as well as the re-privatisation of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) to boost the current efforts aimed at providing reliable power supply in the country.
Speaking yesterday during a virtual launch and presentation of the maiden edition of the Electricity Law Reports in the country, the vice president stated that with all the activities embarked upon by the government, including the deal with Siemens AG and expected funding from the World Bank and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Nigeria’s power problems will soon be over.
The law reports contain an exact reproduction of the judgments of various courts and panels; detailed analysis of facts, issues, subject matter, and findings on all known judgments as well as landmark decisions of the industry regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), relating to the electricity sector from 1900 to date and is spearheaded by Mr. Wale Irokosu, the Editor-in-Chief.
Osinbajo explained that post-privatisation, the energy sector had experienced challenges, stemming from the technical and commercial misalignment which has led to high technical and commercial losses by operators and resulting in sub-optimal market performance.
“Notwithstanding the forgoing, this administration is committed to resolving the challenges and delivering the president’s objective to deliver efficient, stable and reliable power to the generality of Nigerians and put Nigeria on the path of recovery.
“In view of this, the federal government has initiated a series of intervention programmes to address the challenges in the power sector into two broad categories, namely commercial viability and technical and infrastructure capacity.
“A commercially viable sector is critical to the success of the privatisation programme. If this can’t be achieved, there will be no need to privatise in the first place. However, it has to be balanced with social responsibility and this is the main thrust of one of the key initiatives of government in this regard,” he stated.
While reeling out recent moves by the federal government to tackle the power challenges in the country, Osinbajo, whose speech was read by the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, stated that recent initiatives had been designed to establish a conducive environment for the power sector, particularly to strengthen performance of distribution companies and enhance financial and fiscal stability in the sector.
“This is with the overall objective of ensuring the provisions of quality and reliable electricity supply. This will allow the government to redirect the vital resources currently being deployed as a lifeline on support of the sector towards other critical areas such as health, education and infrastructure development. It will also make the sector attractive for necessary private sector investment,” he added.
He reiterated the government’s collaboration with the World Bank, Siemens AG, and others, saying the federal government was working with the AfDB to provide concessionary financial aid to the Discos in order to reduce interface problems between them and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
“This we believe will drastically expand the ability of TCN to transmit power to locations required and reduce incidence of rejection of power by Discos and increase their ability to distribute more quality and reliable power supply.
“The AfDB has signalled an intention to advance the sum of $350 million facility to fund the first phase of the programme with the possibility of doubling the amount for the second phase.
“In addition, the federal government is in the process of concluding two power sector privatisation transactions: the privatisation of Afam Power PLC and Afam Three Fast Power Limited and the re-privatisation of the Yola Disco.
“Afam with an installed capacity of 970 mw will immediately add 240 mw to the grid and this will be wrapped up overtime”, the VP informed.
In his remarks, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata, said that like corruption, the power problem in the country had dominated national discourse for a long time, adding that there’s still so much work to do in the sector.
“It really pains me to note that 20 years down the line, things are still in such an state of affairs in this sector” he lamented.
The NBA, he said, aspires to have quality lawyers specialised in electricity sector in the country, adding that there’s an obligation on lawyers to pay attention to quality control.