Nigeria: Privatisation of the Power Sector Sparks Debate

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The former Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr. Sam Amadi, says the privatisation of the country’s power sector was not the solution to the power sector challenges.

“You cannot cure government failure by privatising because privatisation is built upon some basic framework for the public good. My argument is that there are some certain structural issues that determine whether that proposition would work. The government needs to reform how it does business,” Amadi said,

According to ThisDay, he was speaking at a monthly power dialogue of the Nextier Advisory in Abuja.

He added: “The idea that we can outsource government by allowing the private sector to come in with skills, good finance, information management, has failed. That is why I say that I’m not against privatisation as an intervention in cases where it is justified, but I’m against it as an ideology, which is what happened between 2010 and 2013.”

Privatisation of the power sector

Also speaking at the event was Secretary-General of the National Union of Electricity Employees, Joe Ajaero, who said the model of privatisation adopted by the government could not be understood by many, as power distribution companies have failed to provide meters for electricity consumers.

He noted that private sector players who bought the power assets had not delivered on the promises they made since they took over the companies four years ago.

Ajaero said: “Somebody said that there is a model for privatisation and I have asked, what model did we use in Nigeria? From which country did we borrow the model? In India, you can go to a store and buy your meter, but is that so here? In fact, in every market, even if you want to buy garri, there is a measurement for commodities; you have a cup to measure the garri.”

He continued: “But you have electricity being generated without following it up with a form of measuring instrument. There are no meters, you generate power and people are charged based on estimation but then we say we’ve arrived with respect to privatisation.”

Source: ESI Africa

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