Most private investors in the successor companies of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria have very limited idea of how to efficiently run the electricity firms they acquired, the Council on African Security and Development, a research-driven body of experts and academics, has said.
According to the council and other experts in the sector, Nigeria’s electricity industry is performing poorly, because those who invested in the country’s power assets lack the technical expertise, funds and passion to take their ventures to the next level.
Speaking on behalf of the council at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday to announce its forthcoming 2017 US-Africa Energy Summit, the Director, CASADE, who doubles as a professor at the University of Wisconsin, United States of America, John Ifediora, said energy poverty was the major factor that was scaring investors away from Nigeria.
He said, “Poor power supply is the major factor that makes investors to stay away from Nigeria, as many of them prefer going to Asian countries where you have infrastructure and some level of expertise that you can’t get here in this country.
“And why is our power sector this backward even after being privatised over three years ago? It is primarily because most of the investors in the sector who bought over the successor distribution and generation companies have no idea of how to run the business efficiently.”
Ifediora said a lot of breakthroughs had been recorded in the power sector globally, which operators in Nigeria could tap into.
“Given the region’s vast fossil fuel reserves and the abundance of renewable energy sources, it has the potential to generate up to 11,000 gigawatts of electricity through a combination of solar power, wind energy, natural gas and hydroelectricity. Unlocking this potential is the proper domain of policymakers and invested interests in the private sector,” he added.
Commenting on CASADE’s view about the lack of adequate sectoral knowledge by investors, a Senior Partner at Nextier Power, a power consultancy firm, Mr. Emeka Okpukpara, attributed the knowledge gap in the sector to lack of information and data availability.
“The sector lacks a central point for information and data. The knowledge gap in the sector is caused by lack of information and data unavailability. The sector is not yet transparent. So, while there are organisations with the mandate to ensure that information and data is readily available, this hasn’t happened,” Okpukpara stated.