By Prince Okafor
LAGOS—Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said, yesterday, the Federal Government was ready to negotiate offers for its 40 percent stake in the power sector.
Fashola made this disclosure at Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Policy Dialogue on the power sector in Lagos.
He also revealed that the regulations and orders that would govern eligible customers will be out next month to ensure customers bought directly from the Generating Companies, GENCOs.
The minister said: “We would be open to welcome new and tangible offers that would lead to it divesting the Federal Government’s 40 percent shares in the 11 electricity distribution companies, Discos, in the country.”
“We should also expect that the orders and regulations governing power eligible customers so that more people can get access to power, will be issued in October this year. So when the regulation comes, the process of implementation for added power will start.”
He said the regulation, which would govern metre service providers, would open up the market to more players in the metre supply chain, strengthen local metre suppliers and bridge the country’s metering gaps.
“It would enable other businesses that are not distribution companies, DISCOs, to supply metres. The core business of the DISCOs is not metre supply, their core business is distributing power but it needs metres to do so.
“Those who specialise in manufacturing, supplying and installation of metre would now go into that business subject to licence by Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission, NERC.”
According to him, the Power Payment Assurance Guarantee eased the debt profile of the sector, thereby increasing power production from 2,690 megawatts in 2015 to 6,911 megawatts in December 24, 2016.
In his remarks, Managing Director of Egbin Power Station, Mr Kola Adeshina, said the fundamental problems of the power sector stemmed from its pricing.
He said: “We are talking of industrialisation but we cannot be industrialised if the cost of electricity is high. Banks are bleeding due to the level of loans they given to the power sector.’’
Adeshina urged the stakeholders to use the country’s vast gas endowment towards reducing the pricing of electricity, emphasizing the need for an holistic review of the power reforms.