Senate President Ahmed Lawan has expressed his displeasure over irregular power supply which he said is taking a negative toll on the local economy.
Speaking on Monday during the opening of a one- day Senate roundtable discussion on Addressing Nigeria’s power problems in Abuja, Lawan lamented that the frequent power outage that led to the power sector privatisation by the Goodluck Jonathan administration were fraudulent.
He therefore called for a review of the exercise which produced 20 generating companies (GenCos) and 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos) in 2005.
“Some people signed very scandalous agreements on behalf of the government. People will take hundreds of millions for nothing. I think the time has come to take major decisions on what we need to do with those agreements.
“We need to revisit the privatization because apparently there are flaws. We have to address whether it was at the expense of government or not,” he said.
Speaking on some wealthy Nigerians relocating to Ghana to set up businesses, he expressed his worry and called for an emergency in the power sector.
While noting that such businessmen have been selling off their assets as a result of epileptic power situation in Nigeria, the National Assembly leader said the power sector being an important part of the country’s economy is the most challenging sector.
“I believe this is a sector that needs a declaration of emergency. This is an opportunity for us in this roundtable to discuss not only the challenges of the power sector in Nigeria but the solutions and the way forward.
“The truth is, we all know what went wrong. What we really need to do is to have the political will to take on the challenges.
“I want to remind us that we have signed unto the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
“I believe what will give us an edge is to have a competitive environment for our industries. Our businesses must be able to produce things that will compete favourably with products produced in other countries in Africa.
“We are not in that position today and we know the consequences of that; that even our citizens who have capital rather relocate to Ghana, produce whatever they want, and bring them to Nigeria to sell. Where does that leave our country?
“No employment opportunities. Nigeria has become a dumping ground. So we have to tell ourselves the truth.
“If we went wrong with our privatisation of GenCos and DisCos, the time has come to look into whatever we have and review these things. We must remove them in the interest of the country. We must admit there was something wrong.”
He further stated that from the electricity power reforms of 2005 to the privatisation of GenCos and DisCos and what is happening today, everything is a fraud.
“And if we play the Ostrich, even in the next 10 years, we will still be talking about this problem.”
“I think the time has come for us to have courage. It is really disheartening that we are still talking about 4,000MW. We have decided to have a maximum capacity of 12,000MW but we can’t take more than 5,000 MW- I don’t understand this.
“Other countries within Africa are talking of so much. Even in Ghana, they say it is three times better than what we are doing and we are the largest economy in Africa. For how long have we trusted that position?
“I believe that we have to declare a state of emergency on power and courageous decisions must be taken by government.
“Citizens need to be protected of course when they enjoy power, they need to pay but government must do something but certainly, people in government must act responsibly.”