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Nigeria’s Power Sector Policies Are Obsolete, Need Reworking, Says Minister Adelabu 

He said distribution companies must be involved in the plans to transform the power sector.

The federal government on Thursday said that the current policies being implemented in the power sector were obsolete and would require rejigging to fit into the country’s current realities.

Speaking in Abuja at the close of a three-day summit with industry players on the way forward for Nigeria’s beleaguered power sector, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, stressed that Nigeria was still deploying the policies enacted under the Olusegun Obasanjo government in 2001.

The retreat, the federal government said, was a first step towards the establishment of the Integrated National Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan as required by the Electricity Act, 2023.

“We need to revise the policies in the sector. The policies we are using now are already obsolete, they are outdated. These are the policies promulgated in 2001. So, they need a revision and that’s what we are doing.

“This will help in the transformation of all the segments of the power sector, including in gas supply to generating companies as well as for transmission services and the independent system operators to accelerate the performance of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

“And most importantly are the Distribution Companies (Discos) which are actually the last mile in this value chain. They are the ones that ensure power gets to the doorsteps of the consumers.

“If they are not involved , then our efforts to transform this sector will be a joke. So, we know that the Discos have a major role to play, which we are going to treat,” the minister said.

He said that though the challenges were daunting, they will be faced with all the courage required, explaining that in January, the consumer segment of the consultations will be held.

“There are issues of infrastructure investments, issues of metering gap, issues of power assets vandalism, of power theft and issues of collection difficulties.

“We are going to face all these issues. The liquidity which this industry has been deprived of will be realised. We will ensure that we minimise the Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses of the Discos so that a substantial portion of generated power is transmitted and distributed to customers,” he added.

According to Adelabu, when there’s a boost in liquidity, then investment made by stakeholders can be realised.

He stated that while the rejigging of the policies are ongoing, work will not stop in any of the segments of the value chain, stressing that the consultation will throw up a set of workable industry policies that will be accepted by all stakeholders.

“This will ensure that we have an enduring policy framework in the industry . It is a continuous process. It’s not something we can finish in one day,” Adelabu added.

After the consultations, the minister said the government will come up with a strategic implementation plan that the entire industry will buy into, thereby making it a permanent document.

According to the minister, the coverage of the document will range from technical to regulations as well as human capacity development.

“For us to achieve our vision for the power industry, it must be executed by people with competence,” he stressed.

With the planned involvement of states in the power sector as a result of the new power sector law, he noted that the government technocrats must be ready to up their game to provide oversight for the industry.

To ensure that work progresses as planned, the minister promised to get  approvals from the president, the federal executive council, and other bodies where necessary.

He lauded the gathering for the enthusiasm displayed during the three days of brainstorming, stressing that it showed patriotism and the passion to make things work in Nigeria.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Mr Temitope Fashedemi, explained that the ministry exists as an enabler of economic growth and to deliver functional and affordable electricity nationwide.

He noted that companies operating in the power sector should look beyond just their immediate gains and look at the bigger picture as the nation seeks to transform the power sector.

“So once you step away from that side where you are only looking for the interest of your investment or the interest of your company, to help Mr. President to achieve this thing for the country, then you will begin to see that your reasoning changes,” he pointed out.

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

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