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Power privatisation: 60% customers support exercise, 37% others kick at dialogue

A cross section of electricity customers and stakeholders reviewed the power privatisation of 2013, with 60 per cent supporting it and 37 per cent others dismissing it as the wrong way toward improving electricity supply.

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At the monthly Power Dialogue organised by Nextier Power in Abuja on Wednesday, key sector experts converged to review the privatisation in a four-man panel debate.

Moderator and Principal Partner at Nextier, Mr Patrick Okigbo, who announced the audience’s votes on the issue, said before the panel debate began, 76 per cent voted in support of the privatisation while 12 per cent opposed it with 12 per cent undecided.

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But at the end of the dialogue, the support declined to 60 per cent while those who opposed the exercise among the audience rose to 37 per cent, with just three per cent audience left undecided.

Partner at Nextier Power, Mr Emeka Okpukpara, said the dialogue was where experts converged to discuss critical issues and policies in the sector to advise the Federal Government on improving electricity services.

Former chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, while opposing the spontaneous privatisation exercise said, the Federal Government ignored key corporate governance reforms and rushed to transfer the power assets to private investors.

He insisted that a gradual reform and phased privatisation should have been adopted to resolve the current liquidity crisis in the sector.

In his support for privatisation, Mr Eyo Ekpo, also a former commissioner at NERC said the absence a structure in the market is the challenge now, and not the privatisation exercise. 

He said Nigeria needs $30 billion annually till year 2023 to grow infrastructures including those in the sector.

Managing Director of Mojec Nigeria, a meter production firm, Chantelle Abdul, said privatisation has reduced the 80 per cent metering gap as over two million meters have been injected into the sector through private funding since 2013. 

The General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Mr Joe Ajaero, opposed the exercise saying there ought to be more generation capacity before privatisation and that it has made electricity unaffordable.


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