President Bola Tinubu says the federal government will inaugurate a Presidential task force to monitor and ensure the progress of the deployment of key projects in the power sector.
Mr Tinubu made this announcement at the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) market participants and stakeholders’ round table (NMPSR) on Monday in Abuja.
The round table had the theme: “NESI Privatization and its 10-Year Milestone: The Journey So Far, Opportunities and Prospects.”
The president, represented by Sodiq Wanka, his special adviser on energy and power Infrastructure in the Office of the Vice President, emphasised the need for a task force to reposition the sector.
“This includes projects that will help deconstrain the grid and deliver the full available generation capacity to our homes and factories. We must create an environment where underperforming entities no longer hinder the sector’s progress.”
“All licensees must not only have the technical capacity to fulfill their licenses but also the financial strength to invest and expand their operations. Preliminary analysis indicates that DISCOs are undercapitalised by approximately N2 trillion.
“We must facilitate a reorganisation and recapitalisation process to bring in new partners and capital to jumpstart performance in this critical sector of the value chain,” Mr Tinubu explained.
The president also stated that the federal government would accelerate the deployment of renewables and solar energy in appropriate areas.
He noted the opportunity to deploy inter-connected and isolated mini-grids to deliver power closer to the point of use.
“This will support initiatives aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of embedded power plants and promoting innovative financing schemes for solar solutions in homes.”
Mr Tinubu emphasised that the key objectives of the privatization effort were to enhance the efficiency of the power sector, attract private sector investments, and unleash Nigeria’s potential through an energised economy.
“Ten years on, it is fair to say that the sector’s privatisation objectives have, by and large, not been met. Over 90 million Nigerians lack access to electricity. The national grid only serves about 15% of the country’s demand, leaving households and factories to rely on expensive self-generation, which supplies 40% of the country’s demand.
“Furthermore, the total electricity capacity transmitted through the national grid has remained relatively stagnant over the last decade, increasing from just over 3,000 Mega Watts (MW) to slightly over 4,000 MW today. A significant amount of work is needed to build an electricity sector to be proud of.”
The president emphasised the need for guiding principles in decision-making during the challenging task of improving the power sector.
He highlighted the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for private sector investment.
The minister of power, Adebayo Adelabu, stressed the importance of all stakeholders in NESI coming together to discuss the reasons behind the sector’s privatisation failure and strategising to achieve its objectives.
“Most countries worldwide do not privatize their electricity supply value chain from generation to distribution. We must address this reality and work collaboratively to provide stable and reliable electricity to Nigerians.”
Mr Adelabu suggested the necessity of evaluating the technical capacities and investments made by Distribution Companies (DisCos) and Generation Companies (GenCos) 10 years into privatisation.
Earlier, Prof. Stephen Ogaji, chairman of NMPSR planning committee, highlighted the energy sector’s crucial role in a thriving economy.
He encouraged participants to engage in constructive dialogues, challenge conventional thinking, and identify strategies that can transform the power industry and citizens’ lives.