Buhari has spent N1.6tr on power sector, says Gov el-Rufai

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GOVERNOR Nasir el-Rufai has said the privatised electric power sector has remained a drain on government resources absorbing about N1.6 trillion in support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Finance from 2013 to 2021.

The governor stated this yesterday at the 9th edition of the Nigeria Energy Conference in Lagos. He said: “There are interventions proposed by the World Bank to provide another $750m to the sector in a performance-for-results programme. In contrast, the telecoms sector has never needed any intervention of this nature since deregulation in 2001.”

The governor said while the government is seeing results after privatising the telecoms sector with value addition, “The same cannot be said of the companies that cornered the electricity distribution companies.

“If these structural bottlenecks are not addressed within a public policy perspective that gives primacy to serious private sector leadership in the sector, even the most determined minister of power can only engage in heroic, but largely futile, labour”.

Governor el-Rufai noted that state governments are willing to come to the aid of the federal government in tackling the challenges.

“The state governments are willing and able to come to the aid of the FG in addressing these power challenges. But the solution ultimately is to have a power sector reform act that addresses the problems of the sector, the liquidity and tariff problems so that we’ll be able to attract private investment.”

The Minister of Power, Abubakar D. Aliyu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Temitope Fashedemi, said access to energy is critical in advancing Nigeria’s development agenda.

“Consequently, an enabling policy and investments in modern energy technologies are required”.