Nigeria seeks review of power sector privatisation

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The Nigerian government on Thursday gave an indication that it would soon review the privatisation of power plants in the country to enable government restructure their ownership and capacity to deliver value to the people.

President Muhammadu Buhari said at the closing of the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit, NES in Abuja that the review would involve the restructuring of the ownership of the power plants to ensure that owners who do not demonstrate sufficient capacity to operate the facilities cede their stakes to new investors.

The President, who was represented by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said this was to open up the sector for new investors to bring in fresh capital to make the plants more functional.

He said negotiations would commence with power generation companies, DISCOs where the country is having the most difficulties in ensuring adequate power supply.

At the opening session of the summit, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had rejected a proposal by one of the operators who urged the federal government to inject more money in the power plants sold to private investors.

Mr. Osinbajo said rather than give fresh funding, current owners of those companies who have no capacity to finance their operations should transfer their equity to fresh investors to help realize that objective.

The Chairman, Transcorp Ughelli Power Limited, Tony Elumelu, had urged the federal government to reconsider refinancing the electricity distribution companies, DISCos by acquiring fresh shares of the firms.

Mr. Elumelu had said injecting fresh capital would check the current situation where operators of these power plants were holding the government to ransom with endless demands.

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