The President of the Senate of Nigeria, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday, 7th of January spoke at a 2-day stakeholders interactive dialogue/workshop on the Nigerian power sector for the National Assembly. The workshop was organised to allow the Legislature and Executives come together to forge a solution to the problems facing the Nigerian power sector.
In his speech, the Senator referred to the problem of epileptic power supply as possibly the “most significant challenge to our quest for economic development”.
He emphasised on how the problems of this sector have affected the other parts of the country.
“Today, we are on the verge of a total systemic breakdown and I see this as an opportunity to stop this train from derailing completely.” He said.
Dr Bukola, urged the house to be willing to make sacrifices for the country they serve. Adding that that is the only way the challenges can be eradicated. He also urged all key players to be as honest and “blunt” as possible in expressing their challenges.
He said, “To get out however, sacrifice has to be made and borne by all. We must agree to put Nigeria first and our contributions to this must be genuine.
“Yes, some will lose money, jobs may be lost, investment gestation may extend but government must as well be sincerely committed to providing the right environment and fulfill its part of the deal without equivocation.
“Unless all players speak frankly, open-mindedly and honestly we will not get the right solutions. I am going to lead the way in being blunt and specific in my contribution starting with these remarks and hopefully that will set the tune for not-so-politically-correct deliberations here.”
He also pointed out some of the blunders that were made during the privatization of the power sector while also stating that the privatization of the sector was not necessarily a wrong policy.
“We sold the discos to individuals and parties who had no idea about running a proper power distribution business. Licenses were issues based on cronyism rather than capital adequacy, market experience and capacity to deliver. Agreements were faulty and transaction integrity hardly imperative.”
He added, “The BPE did things that were inexcusable. To imagine that even the sale proceeds of about $4bn was solely spent towards the payment of pensions and staff. Not one single kobo was expended towards catalyzing the sector back to life
“GENCOS bought generating units without a clear assurance of source of gas to fire plants and government had no active roadmap for delivery of a gas market infrastructure to make this happen.”
To wrap up his speech, he expressed the National Assembly’s interest and readiness to support and drive every actionable initiative that is expected out of the interactive session to boost the power sector significantly.