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Nigeria at 56: operators make case for power development

After a review of the post-independence power sector in Nigeria, operators of the sector are optimistic of growth in the sector given some developments in the last one year.

They, however, frowned at some issues currently bedeviling the power sector.

On the generation companies, GENCOs, the Chairman, Nigeria’s largest Power Generation firm, Egbin Power Plc, Kola Adesina, expressed optimism in the country’s power sector in the last one year, saying it is currently experiencing some turnaround.

According to him, “The power sector in the last one year is taking shape, tough, but surmountable.”

It will be recalled that the company had, couple of weeks ago raised alarm over the indebtedness of Federal Government to its company which they put at about N86 billion.

The company stated that the figure, represented the value of energy it produced and added to the national grid in the last six months, but yet to receive any payment, lamenting that electricity generation companies, are highly constrained by debt burden because it is frustrating power development plans in the country.

Reiterating the constraints, Adesina called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of priority, address issues ranging from pricing, gas supply, liquidity, access to foreign exchange, and proactive regulation.

He further called for special foreign exchange policy to aid the sector, intervention fund for the inherent losses recognised, as well as ensuring gas availability.

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On DISCOs
Speaking also, General Manager, Communications, EKEDC, Mr. Godwin Idemudia, argued that the country’s power sector had taken a positive shift in recent times as against what was obtained in the past.

His words: “It is a well known fact that before privatization, power supply in the country was precarious due to reasons not far from inadequate gas supply for generation, weak transmission network, dilapidated distribution networks, energy theft and other negative vices.

“Since take over by the new investors, a lot have been going on especially on the privatised part of the sector, namely generation and distribution. There is an improvement in gas production, increase in power generation capacity.

“Distribution networks are being reinforced, improved customer care services and the new owners have injected substantial amount of investment into the business to achieve improvement in parts of the sector without thinking of returns for now.”

He argued that the inability and zeal to privatise the link between the generation and distribution (TCN) remains a challenge.

He also noted that, the challenges crippling the sector is the exchange rate as most of the equipment and materials are basically imported.

“As the GENCOs and the Discos are improving, the link which is transmission still remains the same. Not much has been done in that direction,” he added.

On what has been made right in the power sector, he said that the privitisation of the power sector remains the greatest achievement of all time. “The government would not have been able to do it alone. The private investors need a lot of encouragement especially now that the exchange rate is so worrisome.”

Way forward
Idemudia, however, called for the distribution companies to invest more on alternative power generation to support its supply.

His words: “The Discos need to be encouraged to go into embedded generation within their areas of operations. This will go a long way to meet the yearning and aspirations of their customers.

“The government is already doing something to improve the power situation in the country, but Nigerians need to be patient.

“The private investors in partnership with the government will take the country to the next level that we want to be. The new owners need some kind of waivers on import of materials and equipment.”

He posited that “condemnation of the federal government and private sectors cannot take us anywhere,” adding that “all hands must be on deck. We all have a role to play if we want to be players recognised in the global arena.

 

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