By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ABUJA—THE Presidential Task Force on Power, PTFP, has said an estimated $100 billion was required in the next 10 years, if Nigeria must attain 40,000Mw of electricity, saying there was no way government could raise such huge amount of money.

Team leader, regulatory and transaction of PTFP, Mr. Eyo Ekpo, said no less that $10billion would, consequently, be spent annually, noting that annual funding requirement had already far outstripped the capacity of public sector funding.

Ekpo, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja, said government capital outlays for all capital budget was $6 billion, while power alone required $10 billion annually.

He said because of the huge and antecedent of inefficiency and corruption associated with the public, government was restructuring the sector into functional components of generation, transmission and distribution, as well as creating multiple entities of similar functions to ensure effective competition in the sector.

According to him, the aim is to stimulate activities in the industry, along business line, to improve utility viability, grow generation capacity and increase citizens’ access to electricity.

Ekpo noted that this would lead to active participation of the private sector in the business of the industry through the provision of capacity and management expertise and outright transfer of assets to the private sector from the Federal Government where ever applicable.

He lamented that labour had been a major obstacle to the reform, and accused it of drawing the reform process backward.  He noted, however, that government would not be blackmailed or coerced into ideological arguments.

He said “achieving consensus with labour unions is an important part of managing the reform process. The Federal Government is firmly committed to resolving all outstanding labour issues but will not be blackmailed or coerced into arguments with the labour unions. N200 billion have been appropriated to cover all outstanding remunerations/pension related debts or benefits to PHCN workers. Out of this, N57 billion had been spent to settle monetisation benefits and over 95 percent of workers has been paid.

Mr. Ekpo explained that it is important the money is set aside to ensure that once an agreement is reached with the unions, payment can begin immediately without waiting for budget, stressing however, if there is shortfall after negotiation, it would be budgeted for.

He lamented that Nigerians had long suffered blackout with its consequences on businesses and others and called on Nigerians to fully support the reform process.

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