Senior oil workers are pressuring the Nigerian government to complete the power sector privatisation
Senior oil workers are pressuring the Nigerian government to complete the power sector privatisation by opening the transmission segment to competent private investors who have the financial and technical capacities to breathe new life into the decrepit system.
Africa’s biggest economy continues to grapple with a grossly inadequate power supply to its estimated 200 million population, generating less than 4,000 megawatts almost 62 years after independence as a sovereign nation, compared to some African peers.
For example, South Africa, the next biggest economy in Africa after Nigeria, produces over 58,095 megawatts, according to its ministry of mineral resources and energy. South Africa has a population of about 60 million population.
Asides the challenge of inadequate power generation, experts say Nigeria’s situation is even worsened by the fact that a sizeable percentage of what is generated is lost in transit to collapsing and inefficient transmission infrastructure, requiring an urgent fix.
Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), rising from its national executive council (NEC) meeting in Lagos, weekend, argued that it was time the Federal Government invited capable private sector players into the transmission segment.
The Nigerian government in 2013, under former President Goodluck Jonathan, privatised the generation and distribution segments of the power sector but retained transmission. Notwithstanding the privatisation, however, the power crisis has festered.
“One wonders why the nation cannot explore other alternatives to improve power supply within the country and use such to grow the economy since economic growth is largely dependent on the availability of steady power supply.
“We, therefore, urge the government to complete the power and energy sector deregulation process by opening up the transmission segment of power value chains to competent private participation and investments,” the union said in a communiqué signed by Festus Osifo, its president.
PENGASSAN said in doing this, the government must consider three criteria for the would-be investors: managerial experience, technical expertise, and financial capabilities.
It further urged the government not to hesitate to revoke licences of Discos that have performed poorly, thereby contributing to the unending electricity challenges limiting Nigerians and the economy.