‘Only one power plant built from 100 licences issued’
• Regulation stifling investments, say stakeholders
Stakeholders have again faulted the privatisation of the power sector, noting that regulatory framework in the sector is stifling investments rather than encouraging it.
To underscore the point, the Executive Director, Nestoil, Dr Chukwueloka Umeh, and the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), noted that only one power plant has been built despite issuance of licences to at least 100 licensees, a reflection of poor regulation and disincentive to investors.
Umeh argued that government has been trying to regulate the power sector into existence despite having not done a true privatisation, as many of the licensees are not building plants due to unfriendly regulation that makes it difficult to recoup investments.
In a chat with journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) conference in Abuja, Umeh insisted that quick fixes will not address power sector issues, but a review of regulation that will drive investments.He said: “Generating companies need to be able to charge a tariff that allows them to generate power by gas and the government should not be telling private companies this is what they should charge, when competition should be what drives the price and tariff down.
“Let GENCOs compete amongst themselves, likewise DISCOS. Market forces will drive down the prices, just like it happened with the deregulation of the telecoms sector. The government simply needs to create an enabling environment and then step out of the way to let private companies compete for business.
“The government believes that they are helping the masses by fixing prices. In reality, they are not. The government should not be the one telling us how much to sell our power because you know, it would never be a question of capacity anymore,” he added.
On his part, the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud, stressed the need for Nigeria to urgently embrace renewable energy to provide clean, affordable and stable energy, adding that renewable energy is vital, and assured in providing over 80 million Nigerians access to power.
Compared to other countries with natural resources like Nigeria, energy generation remains poor considering the country’s population size.British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing, emphasised the need for the country to uphold the sanctity of contracts and implement a tax regime that will make the nation attract investments from foreign investors.
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