President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration is facing what he calls “the classic dilemma” over the privatisation of the power sector.
He said the privatisation of the sector had yet to show any improvement in the quality of service, saying it was difficult to determine whether it was done in public interest or with profit motive.
President Buhari, however, noted that since the privatisation of the sector had started, the process had to be completed.
Speaking at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja Monday at the commencement of a two-day National Economic Council (NEC) retreat titled: “Nigerian State: Multi-centres of Prosperity”, he said the epileptic power situation in the country was no longer a laughing matter.
The president said: “Key points to look at here are: Privatisation. We are facing the classic dilemma of privatisation: Public interest vs Profit Motive. Having started, we must complete the process”.
He also disclosed that his administration had, in its remaining three, given itself the target of 10,000 megawatts “distributable power”, adding that in 2016 alone, the government intended to add 2,000 megawatts to the national grid.
“Nigerians’ favourite talking point and butt of jokes is the power situation in our country. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter. We must and by the grace of God we will put things right”, he assured.
He said: “Common public complaints are “Constant power cuts destroying economic activity and affecting quality of life; high electricity bills despite power cuts; low supply of gas to power plants due to vandalisation by terrorists; obsolete power distribution equipment such as transformers; power fluctuations which damage manufacturing equipment and household appliances; and low voltage which cannot run industrial machinery. These are some of the problems which defied successive governments. In our determination to CHANGE, we must and will, insha Allah, put a stop to power shortages”.
He said while the National Electricity Regulatory Commission has a vital job to ensure consumers get value for money and over-all public interest is safe-guarded; government has to fast-track completion of pipelines from gas points to power stations and provide more security to protect gas and oil pipelines.