Minister of Power Engr Sale Mamman has stated that the privatisation of power sector and the DisCos’ inability to meet their obligations within the value chain were responsible for the poor performance of the sector which has led to over N50 billion being spent by the federal government in subsidising electricity monthly.
In a statement posted by his S. A. on Media and Communication, Aaron Artimas, the Minister said
“Nigerians must understand that these companies were privatised long before the advent of this administration but the government has no alternative than to continue managing the sector before a final solution is secured.
“Through the Presidential Power Initiative and other intervention measures, the government is diligently working to resolve all these inherited problems that have continued to frustrate the success of the sector”.
Receiving members of the Hausa Guild of Actors & Film Producers, otherwise known as Kannywood, the Minister expressed serious concern over the failure of the Distribution Companies (DisCos) to stabilise their operations to meet their financial obligations to other players in the sector, adding that the private owners to whom the companies were sold managed them as family businesses instead of running them as intended.
“But that despite this apparent difficulty the government cannot roll back the privatisation process,” he said.
According to him, it was in response to the unfortunate development that the federal government was forced to partly subsidise the sector so as not to price the cost of electricity out of the reach of the common man.
Engr Mamman also said as part of the measures to assist ordinary Nigerians over their frustration in receiving adequate electricity supply, the federal government was forced to categorise electricity supply into various bands between highbrow areas and low income earners to enable everyone cope with the cost of electricity.
“Worried by the incessant complaints by ordinary Nigerians over the unavoidable and periodic increase in the cost of electricity, the federal government had been subsidising electricity supply in the country to the tune of over fifty billion naira.
“The funds are provided to augment the shortfall created by the distribution companies who have failed to defray the cost of bulk electricity supplied to them by the generating companies (GenCos),” the statment read in part.
He however said while some of these problems persist, remarkable performance and progress has been achieved by the federal government for Nigerians as the supply of electricity has stabilised at over 5,000 megawatts, up from less than 4,000 megawatts before President Muhammadu Buhari came to power.
He stated that Nigerians now enjoy stable power supply from fifteen to twenty four hours daily.
The Minister also pointed it is the responsibility of the DisCos to replace faulty transformers, electricity poles and cables whenever they occur and warned them against continued extortion from ordinary Nigerians in that regard.
While commending Nigerians on their efforts to pay for electricity despite the present economic and social problems facing them, he advised them to minimise their usage of electricity by switching off their appliances when they were not at home or when they were not immediately needed in order to reduce pressure on the equipment supplying them power.
On metering, Engr. Sale Mamman explained that although it was the responsibility of the DisCos to provide the meters, the federal government has stepped-in in view of the public outcry over estimated billings.
He said the government was committed to supplying over Six million meters free of charge to Nigerians, adding that about one million meters had already been delivered for distribution while the rest were being awaited.
The Minister called on the DisCos to expedite the distribution of meters free of charge to their consumers as a way of lessening their problems.