Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, on Wednesday said it will be unwise for President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to reverse the power industry privatization.
“I think the incoming government will be ill-advised to reverse privatization and liberalization of power generation, transmission and distribution because any attempt to do that would be to set Nigeria back many many many decades. The gains of privatization are very obvious. If we can solve the problem of gas like we are talking about energy mix, we are not just going by gas we are doing hydros. It was this same administration that flagged off Zungeru hydro power plants for 750 megawatts, and is a bid to flag off mambilla 3,050 megawatts, Shiroro has been improved, revamped, Kanji revamped and improved, the same as Jebba.
“So there is a lot of work being done by the government. However to turn back on privatization would mean stopping all of these companies and then reversing the massive inflow of investments coming into the power sector. Nigeria’s power consumption per capita is one of the lowest in the world and that is part of the efforts of government to reverse that. So I don’t think it is in the best interest of the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a new draft National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, NPREEE, which seeks to increase access to electricity using renewable energy mix; create new business opportunities and new jobs; support global efforts towards green economies and address climate change problems.
Explaining that this was part of the government’s effort to improve electricity supply in the country besides the privatization of power plants, also noted that that policy will promote and encourage efficient use of energy and energy conservation in Nigeria.
He noted that Nigeria is blessed with several sources of energy like biomass, wind, hydro, solar and it has become necessary to address the optimal use of these resources as has never been done by past policies.
Mr. Nebo stated his frustration over the sabotage on the country by vandals who ceaselessly damage oil and gas pipelines to the detriment of their fellow countrymen. He further apologized on behalf of the government for the recent blackouts experienced nationwide.
He said Nigeria has installed capacity of producing 5,500 megawatts of electricity with a current electricity output of between 2000 and 3000 megawatts. Much of that is stalled by the vandalism of gas pipelines.
“So long as we continue to depend on gas which is so vulnerable and susceptible to attacks on a regularly basis. There are days I feel like just crying. You finish the repairs that took two weeks to repair, within 36 hours there are busted again. As you finish the repairs again in two weeks they bust it again at various points,” he said.