The Nigerian power sector has had its fair share of accusations, However, this most recent accusation might be the worst of them all. The power sector has been accused of draining Nigeria’s treasury by hundreds of billions by the Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers Board of Fellows, Chris Okoye.
Pulse reports that Okoye further said the excitement across the country at the time the sector was privatized had suddenly diminished among Nigerians as the current situation of the industry is awful.
A look at the timeline of the privatization of the power sector and we would recall that back in November 2013, the Federal Government formally transferred 60 per cent of the public stake in 11 electricity distribution companies and six generation firms to the private sector. Onn September 30, 2014, despite all efforts, the Federal Government announced a loan of N213bn to the privatized power firms. In March of 2017, the Federal Executive Council announced the provision of N701bn as Power Assurance Guarantee for the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company for two years to pay the generation firms.
The Deputy President of Nigerian Society of Engineers(NSE), Mr. Adekunle Mokuolu remarked that there is tremendous pressure on the national treasury for the provision of electricity in Nigeria. Still, electricity supply has deteriorated, and not improved since the privatization. Nigeria is struggling to generate 4,000 megawatts. The highest output ever recorded, to the best of my knowledge, was 5,517MW, and this was in February 2015.
“The transmission network is weak and fragile owing to old age and poor maintenance. The four-year management contract to Manitoba Hydro International of Canada, which cost Nigeria $23m in the first three years, ended in 2016 without the Transmission Company of Nigeria becoming a technically and financially efficient company as envisaged.”
Okoye also stated that the power distribution companies in Nigeria appeared to have a peculiar challenge.
“Very few of the consortia, which took ownership and management of the Discos from November 1, 2013, were prepared for their new roles. In fact, we witnessed brazen political interference in the privatization of the companies,” he said.