Though it has not publicly disclosed the content of a recovery plan – Power Sector Recovery Programme, it initiated to save Nigeria’s electricity market from collapsing three years after privatisation, the federal government yesterday disclosed that the programme has already taken off and was in operation.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, stated this shortly after inauguring a 100 kilowatts peak (kwp) capacity solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop system that was built by a renewable energy firm, Protergia, for the House on the Rock church in Abuja.
Fashola, stated that the programme which the government developed in partnership with the World Bank, would correct the reported troubles of the power sector. He noted that government would through it provide an enabling environment to grow private investments in the sector.
According to him, the recent N701 billion payment guarantees government approved for power generation companies (Gencos), reconstitution of a board for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Rural Electrification Agency (REA), as well as the declaration of an ‘eligible customers’ regime for the market, are some of the dictates of the recovery programme.
He also reiterated that government would not heed the call for cancellation of the power privatisation exercise, but will use the recovery plan to solve existing challenges in the exercise.
“The power sector recovery programme has already taken off. To deliver on the objective is a combination of government collaboration with citizens. The policies and programmes and assurances that have already gone in will result in initiatives like this (the rooftop solar system),” said Fashola.
He further stated: “Our role as government is to regulate, formulate policies and provide an enabling environment for businesses to get into the business of power.
“One of the things we have done is to get the FEC approval for payment assurance to all those who generate power into the grid, that is one of policies that has taken place. One of the policy action is the constitution of the NERC and REA.
“It is a continuation of policies and actions that should have taken place at the time the privatisation happened which didn’t happen.”
Fashola also noted: “As you are aware, I also exercised my powers under the electricity sector act a few days ago to declare the eligible customers and they are those people who if they are not served by their Discos, can begin to make arrangement with their generation companies where the Disco is unable to make investments in terms of transformers and feeders, to serve them, to have a direct relationship with a man who is producing the power.”
He said going forward, government will punish operational acts that distort the market, adding thus: “These are some of the reforms that will ultimately improve competition, and wherever you have competition, really, you will have productivity. With competition, everybody can play, we set the rules and if you break the rules, we’ll blow the penalty.”
“We already have a privatisation in place but it has challenges. Some people have argued that we should cancel it, but we think that the concept of privatisation is proper. The errors in the privatisation we have can be retooled and re-engineered and they will be solved and that is what the power sector recovery programme speaks to,” Fashola explained.