A new regulation to guard Nigeria’s budding electricity industry from exploitation was yesterday formally pronounced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The policy titled: ‘Regulation on National Content Development for the Power Sector,’ was developed by NERC in December 2014.
It, among other objectives, seeks to help Nigerians and native operators gain some level of advantage in the operations of the privatised electricity market.
NERC at the inauguration of an 11-man advisory board that would manage the deployment and use of the regulation in every facets of the power sector, explained in Abuja that the law was a part of the National Electric Power Policy (NEPP) of 2001.
It however noted that its intention is not to nationalise the operations of the sector but create good opportunities for Nigeria to benefit from the contributions of the sector to her national GDP.
Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi said at the inauguration that the regulation envisages that Nigerian companies would be given first-hand considerations for the supply of goods, works and services in the power sector.
Amadi noted that the board which would be funded by the commission to undertake its responsibilities, would operate in advisory capacity with membership from relevant industry operators and other stakeholders with background in fabrication; engineering; finance services, legal and insurance; information and communication technology; as well as education and training.
He explained that even though the sector currently has a balanced manpower in terms of indigenous participation
, the new board would from its Joint Qualification System (JQS), develop an acceptable local content benchmark for operators in the sector, adding that local manufacturing and sourcing of consumer electricity meters would be accorded immediate priority by the commission and the board.
“This regulation flows from the federal government’s policy on local content first enunciated in the National Electric Power Policy (NEPP) of 2001 which mandates the regulator to ensure local content in the electricity market in Nigeria.
“The objective of this regulation is not to nationalise the sector but to create opportunities for Nigerians to participate and benefit from the privatisation off the power sector,” Amadi said.
He further stated that: “This is in line with the federal government’s policy to create jobs through infrastructure projects.
“It is to prevent what obtains in some other sensitive and important sectors of the economy with huge capital investment but little contribution to GDP and employment opportunities.”
Speaking on parts of the jobs of the board, Amadi said: “The body will act in advisory capacity to the commission. To provide necessary guidance on how to set the minimum local content benchmark for operators in the industry.
“Based on their recommendation, a JQS will be developed for the sector. The JQS will rate indigenous companies intending to operate in the sector based on the technical competence and local content,” he added.