The Association of Electricity Distribution Companies (ANED) declined yesterday to react to the proposed plan by the Federal Government to revisit the privatisation of the power sector. ANED’s Director of Research & Planning, Sunday Oduntan, said the body has no comment on the issue when contacted yesterday by The Nation. He said the issue would strive generate controversy. According to Oduntan, the association had commented on the issue in the past and therefore unwilling to aggravate tension in the industry.
Oduntan said: “The DisCos, for now, is saying that it has no comment to make on the issue. The issue is controversial and we have responded to it in the past. The response misinterpreted by Nigerians.
“In view of the controversial nature of the statement credited to the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, on the issue of revisiting the privatisation of the sector,the body, with all sense of modesty, cannot comment on it.”
He said there was nothing to worry about the Federal Government’s remark on the issue of revisiting the privatised power firms, the government does not mean anything harmful.
“When the government, the vice president, or any other officials of the government is talking about the issue of revisiting the sales of the power firms to the investors, it does not mean that the government wants to sell them to a new set of buyers.
“Revisiting the issue of privatisation of the power sector may mean that the government wants to correct some errors recorded in the Purchase Agreements (PAs) and not outright reselling of the firms”, Oduntan said.
At a news conference last year, Power, Works & Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola advised the electricity distribution companies, otherwise known as DisCos to compete to deliver power to or exit the market for other investors.
The ANED spokesman had said that the association was not interested in politics.
He said: “For us, as operators in the sector, we are not really interested in the politics of power supply; we are interested in supplying power. I think the privatisation process was done openly.
“There was a process; they (government) even went round the world looking for investors. The DisCos investors that I represent paid a sum of $1.4 billion for the entities, and we have always been talking about the challenges in the sector. For us, we will continue to cooperate with the Federal Government to ensure there is an improvement in the sector.
“If revisiting the privatisation is to make sure that the contracts that were signed by the Federal Government with the investors are fulfilled, then we agree that is should be revisited.
“But if some people think revisiting it means taking the assets from the current investors, I can tell you that under this same situation that we find ourselves – the tariff mismatch in the sector – if you give the assets to angels, they will fail.”