Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, says the federal government should have a rethink on the privatisation of public establishments.
Dogara said this on Monday at the investigative public hearing on the urgent need to halt the plan to raise federal government secured bond of N309 billion to finance the shortfall in the Nigerian electricity market.
“Unfortunately, since the unbundling of PHCN and transfer of the businesses to the privately-operated successor companies on November 1, 2013, we have not had a good report from the electricity market,” he said.
“The statistics show an abysmal situation of things and if this trend continues, there may need to be a fundamental rethinking of the privatisation process in Nigeria.
“Duration of uninterrupted supply is average 6 to 8 hours per day, metering of customers is dismal, crazy estimated bills are used to exploit consumers, generation capacity has not improved.Yet, tariffs were increased in February 2016.
“In spite of all these, we have reports that the cumulative market shortfall has risen to over N700 billion as of date. This trend escalates at the rate of about N25.6 illion monthly from NBET’s August 2016 electricity market payment report.”
He wondered why bond secured by the federal government in a privatised market was operated by private entities, saying: “What is the performance of the N213 billion stabilization facility availed the operators by the Central Bank of Nigeria in March 2015? What is the role of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in this process?
“Who will bear the cost of the facility – consumers or the perators? How would this impact the electricity tariff?
“My expectation is that all these issues would be brought to the fore at this investigative hearing and Nigerians will be well enlightened on what is going on in our electricity market.”
In a similar development, Dogara also stressed the importance of a conclusive investigation into the contentious Malabu oil deal.
“The Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 is a potentially lucrative oil block encompassing a massive area of 1,958 square kilometres with two deep water fields estimated to hold about 9.2 billion barrels of crude oil which award is shrouded in controversy, scandals, corruption, and breach of due process that resulted to monumental revenue loss to the country,” he said.
“In the face of dwindling revenue of the country, there is the need for the country to intensify efforts to access funds for the finance of its developmental and infrastructural projects.
“It is instructive to note that OPL 245 has a long running history and has been subject of many investigations, hence the need to put a finality to the matter.”