The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has frowned at the non-adherence to the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act by some of the generation and distribution firms in the country.
Specifically, the Acting Director General of the BPE, Dr. Vincent Onome Akpotaire, said that a situation where stakeholders in the power sector cherry-picked sections of the Act, which suits their purpose of complying with; and disregarding other aspects was the major reason the sector was facing the crisis. Akpotaire, stated this when he led a BPE team, accompanied by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatization, on an oversight visit to the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED), called on all the stakeholders to adhere strictly to all sections of the Act to move the sector forward.
He insisted that power generation was at its lowest in the country today not because of privatization of the generation companies as being erroneously canvassed in certain quarters, but that the crisis in the sector is caused by socio-economic issues which the National Assembly must address urgently.
The BPE boss noted that gas pricing was a major issue in the electricity distribution chain, as most of the generating plants in the country were gas fired and the price of gas is indexed on the U.S. dollar while the collection was in Naira, a situation that has created a gap in liquidity due to the exchange rate. He maintained that the Bureau and all stakeholders; including the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and the National Assembly had the capacity to change the scenario, but that a lot depends on the National Assembly to ensure that the EPSR Act was adhered to.
Receiving the lawmakers and the BPE team, the Managing Director of JED, Tukur Modibbo, expressed optimism that things would improve in the sector and said that constant interaction with relevant stakeholders in the sector would provide a clearer understanding of issues. Modibbo said the interaction with the lawmakers would guide their decisions in charting a way out from current crisis that has bedeviled the sector.
He commended Akpotaire for the positive role the Bureau was playing to ensure a turnaround for the sector and appealed for a review of gas pricing in dollars as it was affecting the DISCOs’ ability to meet their obligations. Chairman of the House Committee on Privatization, Yerima Ahmed, who was represented by Olatunde Gabriel Kolawole, while commending the JEDC for its achievements so far, said the House of Representatives was not unaware of the challenges the DISCOs across the country were facing. He said the objective of the power privatization is for efficient and effective power delivery to consumers, which is one of the key Performance Indices of the DISCO in the Performance Agreement entered into with the Federal Government.
The House Committee members and the BPE team also visited the Jos Steel Rolling Mill (JSRM) now, Zuma Steel West Africa, where Akpotaire frowned at the inability of the new investors to produce the short, medium and long-term plans to turn around the enterprise. Some members of the host community who were present during the visit expressed displeasure over the inability of Zuma Steel to turn around the fortunes of the company since take over. They said the premises had become a hideout for criminals in the area.