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‘Government retaining equity stakes in GenCos, DisCos counter-productive’

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The Chief Executive Officer of Century Power Generation Limited, Dr Chukwueloka Umeh has said the Federal Government’s retention of 60% equity stake in the power generation companies and 40% equity stake in the Distribution Companies (DisCos) is counter- productive to the attainment of improved power supply for industrialisation in Nigeria.

Dr Umeh who was speaking as a guest in a television programme monitored in Lagos, said government’s interest in the entire power sector is best served as an enabler of a conducive investment climate and an industry regulator protecting the interest of all stakeholders.

He said government has achieved this scenario in the telecommunication sector and wondered why the same approach was not being applied to the power sector.

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Dr Umeh, who is also the Chief Operating Officer of the Nestoil Group lamented the impasse over the implementation of cost reflective electricity tariffs in the country, arguing that if electricity is not appropriately priced, the industry cannot attract the needed investments.

According to him, some DisCos have resorted to rejecting power for distribution because of current inadequacies caused by a broken-down value chain which cannot let them calculate their revenue as theft and inadequate metering persists.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Senate had last year, advised the Federal Government to sanction the sale of its 40% stake in Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to foreign investors.

According to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, as stipulated in the Power Sector Privatisation Act 2005, the private investors should be allowed to invest and take ownership of the sector to put an end to the challenges being faced.

“The 40% holding of the Federal Government as stipulated in the Power Privatisation Act 2005 may also be more beneficial to the nation if it is sold to foreign investors with technical know-how.”

Speaking further, the Senate President stated that it is not in the interest of the government to keep disbursing bailout funds to DisCos without commensurate improvement in the power supply.

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