News

June 14, 2020

Power Sector Public Hearing: Don’t make this another wasted effort,  Mbisiogu urges NASS

The Senate

The Senate

Senate

By Victor Ajihromanus

As it begins  a public hearing this week on the Power Sector Recovery Plan, the National Assembly has been urged to ensure that this latest  intervention does not amount to a wasted effort like previous ones.

This call was made by Mr. Festus Mbisogu, Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Blue Diamond Logistics and a foremost agitator for stable electricity and sustainable energy in Nigeria in a press statement.

He said it would be an exercise in futility if the National Assembly should allow this week’s public hearing to go the way of others.

He said:” Since March 2005 when the  Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act was signed into law leading to the privatization of the power sector, we have had series of public hearings in the National Assembly as well as  other seminal interventions.

“Yet the eleven electricity distribution companies (DisCos) and six generating companies (GenCos) have shown that they are not capable of satisfying the electricity needs of Nigerians.

“Rather, Nigerian electricity consumers have borne the brunt of their inefficiency, paying for services that are not rendered. The National Assembly with its oversight responsibilities that would have instituted descency and  discipline in the operations of the operators in the power sector have been engaging in mere academic exercises with frequent public hearings without concrete and implementable results achieved.

Mbisiogu who noted that it was sad,  Nigerian electricity consumers have been bearing the brunt of the inefficiency of the operators, called for a total probe of the power sector to ascertain why privatization is not working in our country while it is working even in other African countries.

“It has become imperative that all federal government’s interventions in the power sector from the date of the privatization of the sector to date should be thoroughly investigated. Also, all market participants in the power value chain should be investigated to ascertain the level of corporate governance compliance in the Nigerian electricity industry. These efforts will truly unravel the adequacy of such interventions.

While recalling the devastating impact of  inconsistent and unreliable access to  power on Nigeria’s economy, he said no nation makes any progress until it fixes it’s power problems.

“Do you know many businesses, particularly Small-scale Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that are losing  billions of naira everyday in revenue with many companies and industries having folded  with the attendant job losses since the power sector was privatized?

He said with the global economic meltdown occasioned by COVID-19 Pandemic, time has come for the Federal government and all stakeholders  in the power sector to come together and rescue Nigeria’s economy from total collapse.

Mbisiogu urged the Federal Government to suspend the planned tariff increase which is scheduled to take effect from July 1, 2020, insisting that only in a regime of efficient services are prices inreased.

“What is the rationale in increasing tariff when we are not enjoying for the services we are paying for? Increase in prices of goods and services does not lead to increased service deliverables, particularly in the power sector, if the fundamental challenges bogging the sector down are not tackled.

Mbisiogu who is the founder of Good Governance Initiative, has been in the forefront of the agitation for a stable, sustainable electricity in Nigeria in the last 10 years.

Vanguard