Lai Mohammed, minister of information, says the federal government resisted the temptation to cancel the power sector privatisation in order not to send wrong signals to prospective investors.
The minister said this on Thursday in Abuja while answering questions on a programme aired on Radio Nigeria.
The nation’s power sector was privatised in November 2013 as private investors took over now-defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to ensure adequate, regular and stable supply of electricity to the consumer at a reasonable cost
Mohammed said many of the beneficiary companies of the privatisation process were undercapitalised, unequipped lacked the necessary expertise.
He said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari met a very chaotic situation on ground but it is taking pro-active measures to improve on electricity
The minister noted that the federal government has retrieved 690 containers of power equipment out of over 800 containers abandoned at various ports by the previous administration.
“You will remember that about 800 containers of power equipment were abandoned at the ports because the previous administration did not pay the contractors and they abandoned the equipment there,” he said.
“As of today, we have been able to retrieve 690 of the containers.
“When we came in 2015, we found out that many of the beneficiary companies of the privatisation process were undercapitalised, unequipped and they lack the necessary expertise.
“We, however, resisted the temptation of cancelling the privatisation of the GenCos and DisCos in order not to send wrong signal to the investing world.
“What we met on ground was very chaotic because the gas suppliers said they would not supply the GenCos with gas because GenCos were not paying. The GenCos said they would have loved to pay but the DisCos were not paying them.”
To salvage the situation, Mohammed said the federal government then set aside a N7.1 billion payment assurance guarantee fund, which guaranteed that as long as the gas suppliers make the product available and GenCos generate power for distribution, the government would pay them.
He further disclosed that the government had made intervention fund available for the take-off of the 3,050 megawatts Mambilla hydro-electric plant project in early 2019.