Senator Murray-Bruce

The Senate Committee on Privatisation does not support the complete reversal of power sector privatisation.

Chairman of the committee Senator Ben Murray-Bruce said rather, the red chamber is interested in assessing the impact of the exercise as a tool of government.

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Therefore, the committee said it plans to hold a public hearing with a view to finding out what the issues are.

Bruce made this known when he led members of his committee and a team from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). They were on a fact-finding visit to the Benin Electricity Distribution Plc (BEDC) last week.

He said: “We are not in favour of outright cancellation of the process. If a bad deal was done in some areas let us fix it and move on. The committee’s intention is to look at how to fix problems of privatisation. In other words, what can be done to solve the problems.” he noted.

To organise public hearing

Bruce further stated: “the Committee will soon organise a Public Hearing at the National Assembly, featuring Discos, the regulators, customers, and other arms of the value chain to review the privatisation process of the power sector, with a view to fixing emerging problems and make the exercise work better in the interest of all Nigerians.”

As regards to some of the challenges facing the sector, Bruce pointed out that he was surprised about how the industry was being owed about N900billion even when power generation was very low.

He also said he was aware that Federal Government was yet to fully honour its obligations to the Discos, and that they could not collect tariff at prevailing market rate due to high foreign exchange rate and the economic recession, but was more interested in what could be done to salvage the situation.

On a fact-finding mission

He explained that some of the problems confronting Discos were unforeseen, saying: “nobody knew there was going to be economic recession, or Naira devaluation of this magnitude,” which is why the committee is embarking on fact-finding tours to assess how far the process was performing.