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Government needs to review electricity privatisation programme

By Roseline Okere
08 June 2016   |   1:44 am
The need for the Federal Government to review the privatisation process of the country’s electricity firms as way of finding lasting solution to irregular power supply has been emphasised.
John Chuma Nwosu, Managing Director, Jetlink Limited,

John Chuma Nwosu, Managing Director, Jetlink Limited,

The need for the Federal Government to review the privatisation process of the country’s electricity firms as way of finding lasting solution to irregular power supply has been emphasised.

Managing Director, Jetlink Limited, John Chuma Nwosu, said in an interview with The Guardian that privatisation that was shrouded in secrecy and was hijacked by politicians cannot provide the right solution to fixing the country’s electricity crisis.

He said that people with requisite competence and funding capability must be allowed to handle the concessioning in the power sector. “The right regulatory framework, devoid of red tape and restrictions must also be put in place”, he added.

Nwosu emphasised the need for the government to take priority in tackling infrastructural challenges in the country.

He stated: “Government can do quite a lot on the mass transit system as it is practiced in other climes. In South Africa, where for instance, the elderly, children, pensioners are given free transit passes.

“Major improvement in infrastructure like roads, rail, and electricity must be embarked upon without delay. Today, petrol is used by the people to power their alternative source of electricity.

“Because of bad roads, there are rampant gridlocks on the roads, whereby petrol is burnt out unnecessarily. If the roads are fixed and constant energy/ electricity are assured, the quantum of petrol needed will decrease.

“Investment in affordable mass housing and policies on rent must be re-assessed. This kind of welfares enactment should be adapted on a natural scale. Pipe borne water should run again in Nigeria as it did in the 60’s and 70’s.

“In Lekki where I live, I spend an average of N10,000 monthly in maintaining bore hole. These are aberrations that create holes in the pockets of the people and if not addressed in totality, agitation for pay rise cannot abate. In other words, as things stand now, government must look into the demand by Labour to up their minimum wages. And, if we must fight corruption in totality, the salary of a typical worker must be enough to help him/her afford basic needs”.

Speaking on the weak naira to a dollar, Nwosu warned government against engaging in dual exchange rate, urging government to enact a policy that detects the gap that exist between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) official rate and the private market or Bureau de Change Rate.

He stated: “It is a wrong practice. My research confirms that no country in the world operates a dual exchange rate in the name of black market. Since this new regime came into place, people that don’t need foreign exchange have engaged in the forex trade as a means of livelihood.

Recall that Ghana and Romania have gone through this before now. Even Angola is going through it now. My suggestion is that our country should not entrench this dual exchange rate. Government should enact a policy that detects the gap that can exist between CBN official rate and the private market or Bureau de Change Rate. Ghana operates two rates – government rate and BDC rate and the difference in the rates has not been more than five per cent in the past two years.