The Federal Government mulls that it will consider an overhaul of the private power sector, government officials said following the National Economic Council meeting which held on Thursday.
The power sector was privatized in 2013, but power supply remains epileptic and scarce. About 80 million Nigerians remain without access to power, and on several occasion the national grid collapsed for several hours throwing the nation into darkness. The frequent blackouts have affected consumers and business leaving them with no other option that to rely on power generators.
“The entire sector is broken,” Kaduna state governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai said following the meeting.
The NEC passed a resolution at Thursday’s meeting that the privitisation of the sector needed to be re-examined.
“Solutions must be found; those solutions are not going to be nice,” he said.
Plans to build privately financed power stations have been railroaded in recent years by concerns about persistent shortfalls in payments for electricity across the sector.
The government-owned Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading company (NBET) currently buys power from generators and passes it on to distributors who then collect money from customers and reimburse NBET.
But because NBET is not paid in full for the power it buys, private power generators have been partly reimbursed from an emergency central bank loan fund created to keep the sector afloat.
El-Rufai further stated that the government had supported the sector with 1.7 trillion naira ($5.56 billion) over the past three years.
He said the NEC was listening to all stakeholders and called on Nigerians to withhold judgement until the NEC issued its final report. ($1 = 305.9500 naira).