Yesterday, at the workshop on the power sector organized by the national assembly in Abuja, Senate President Bukola Saraki criticized how the power sector was privatized, saying it was sold to individuals who had no idea about how to run it.
He said the mistakes of past governments were “born out of ignorance, selfish interests and fraud”. He lamented that the sector, in spite of the enormous resources committed to it for the last 14 years, had remained in a perilous state.
“Today, we are on the verge of a total systemic breakdown and I see this as an opportunity to stop this train from derailing completely. We sold the discos to individuals and parties who had no idea about running a proper power distribution business. Licenses were issues based on cronyism rather than capital adequacy, market experience and capacity to deliver. Agreements were faulty and transaction integrity hardly imperative,” Saraki said.
Saraki emphasized that the problems in the sector were the country’s own making and sacrifice must be made to overcome the challenges.
“Where we are is not an accident. We walked our way into the landmine we are facing with the decisions we made in the past. While privatisation is a right policy recipe to pursue in order to put in place a power sector that can galvanise our economy, we forgot that the participation of the private sector is not an end in itself,” he said.
“We neglected that unless this is done, observing transparency, competition, transaction integrity we might end up with a sector worse than the past. The BPE did things that were inexcusable. To imagine that even the sale proceeds of about $4bn was solely spent towards the payment of pensions and staff. Not one single kobo was expended towards catalysing the sector back to life.”