Nigeria’s President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, will be ”ill-advised” to reverse the power industry privatisation, Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, said on Wednesday.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Mr. Nebo said the gains of the privatisation were very obvious and any attempt to reverse it will take Nigerians many decades back.
“I think the incoming government will be ill-advised to reverse privatisation and liberalisation of power generation, transmission and distribution because any attempt to do that would be to set Nigeria back many many many decades,” the minister said.
“The gains of privatisation are very obvious. If we can solve the problem of gas like we are talking about energy mix, we are not just going by gas we are doing hydros. It was this same administration that flagged off Zungeru hydro power plants for 750 megawatts, and is a bid to flag off mambilla 3,050 megawatts, Shiroro has been improved, revamped, Kanji revamped and improved, the same as Jebba.
“So there is a lot of work being done by the government. However to turn back on privatization would mean stopping all of these companies and then reversing the massive inflow of investments coming into the power sector. Nigeria’s power consumption per capita is one of the lowest in the world and that is part of the efforts of government to reverse that. So I don’t think it is in the best interest of the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a new draft National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, NPREEE.
The draft NPREEE policy which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) aims to increase access to electricity using renewable energy mix; create new business opportunities and new jobs; support global efforts towards green economies and address climate change problems.
The minister, who explained that this was part of the government’s effort at improving electricity supply in the country besides the privatisation of power plants, also noted that that policy will promote and encourage efficient use of energy and energy conservation in Nigeria.
On the new draft policy on renewable energy, the Minister, who was accompanied by the Information Minister, Patricia Akwashiki, explained that remote areas not connected to the national grid also stand to benefit immensely from the policy.
He noted that Nigeria is blessed with several sources of energy like biomass, wind, hydro, solar; and it has become necessary to address the optimal use of these resources as has never been done by past policies.
He also advised on proper lighting as he disclosed that one-third of power used in the country is wasted by use of inappropriate light bulbs.
Mr. Nebo stated his frustration over the sabotage on the country by vandals who ceaselessly damage oil and gas pipelines to the detriment of their fellow countrymen.
He said Nigeria has installed capacity of producing 5,500 megawatts of electricity with a current electricity output of between 2000 and 3000 megawatts. Much of that is stalled by the vandalism of gas pipelines.
The minister apologised on behalf of the government for the incessant blackouts experienced nationwide now.
“So long as we continue to depend on gas which is so vulnerable and susceptible to attacks on a regularly basis. There are days I feel like just crying. You finish the repairs that took two weeks to repair, within 36 hours there are busted again. As you finish the repairs again in two weeks they bust it again at various points,” he said.