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Rights group seeks review of power sector privatisation

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called for an urgent review of the privatisation of the power sector, to find a lasting solution to Nigeria’s energy crisis.

SERAP’s Executive Director, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, made the call in Lagos.

Mumuni said epileptic power supply across the country was partly to blame for the rate of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria.

He said that the task before the Gov. Nasir El-Rufai Committee on Power Sector Reform was to look into how the privatisation of the sector, which led to the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), was conducted.

“It seems like we pretended to commercialise and privatise, which to me has not really been done, because successive governments have been pumping in money into the sector.

“The government should leave the electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) and the Generation Companies (Gencos) to sort themselves’ out.

“Government should allow the owners run them with the best business practices, so that Nigerians will have better services.”

He said the success of the privatisation of the telecommunications sector was an indication that the power sector could achieve the same feat, if the right thing is done.

“I believe that the government should investigate the process by which they came in, and make it clear to Nigerians.

“This government claims to have spent N1. 7 trillion on the power sector, but our question is why is government pumping money into a largely privatised sector?

“So, the commercial papers that were signed should be reviewed urgently, to ensure that it is beneficial to Nigerians and not just a few individuals,” Mumuni said.

The SERAP executive director also maintained that the rights group was against any increment in electricity tariffs, as it would further impoverish Nigerians.

He said: “Any increase in charges and fees is not of benefit to ordinary Nigerians.

“What the government needs to do is to increase the wealth and opportunities of Nigerians, and not to burden them with more charges.

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