22nd March, 2011
If there is anything Nigerians are in dire need of, it is regular supply of electricity to boost economic activities. Though this cannot be actualised immediately, given the ineptitude of workers at the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, the way out, however, is to privatise the company so that it could be run as an efficient entity. That is why every Nigerian will back the current effort of the Federal Government to allow investors in the private sector to have stakes in the company.
All the hue and cry by the PHCN workers about the negative effect of its privatisation do not hold any water or matter to ordinary Nigerians and entrepreneurs who have been at the receiving end of PHCNâ€™s corruption and failure to meet their electricity needs for decades. What every Nigerian wants is steady electricity supply, whether from private investors or government.
We welcome the sustained effort by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, to hire first-class investors to participate in the privatisation of the successor companies carved out of PHCN. We believe that by the time the unbundling of the PHCN is completed, Nigerians will heave a sigh of great relief.
Poor service delivery by PHCN has led to economic stagnation to the extent that the situation in the power sector has snowballed to that of national emergency because PHCNâ€™s capacity to generate electricity for domestic and industrial use has become too low for a nation with an industrial base and population as large as Nigeriaâ€™s.
Experts say Nigeria is one of the poorest countries in the world because its current power generation level is about 3000mw, coupled with inadequate transmission and distribution capacity and total system losses in excess of 55 percent. This is the status quo the PHCN workers want and would do everything in carhoot with the generator importing mafia to maintain.
We envisage the kind of revolution that has transformed the telecommunications sector to be replicated in the power sector by the time PHCN is privatised. A privatised power sector will bring about improved electricity supply with its multiplier effects in the area of massive employment in the industrial sector. Regular electricity supply will enable manufacturing firms produce at full capacity, cottage industries that are dead will spring up, artisans will have jobs to do and industrialists would cut their huge overhead cost occasioned by reliance on electricity generators.
With improved electricity supply and factories working optimally,more jobless youths would be employed, while crime rate, prostitution and other social vices would equally reduce. Then there will be a better lease of life for the people. A reliable and efficiently-run power sector is capable of catapulting Nigeria to an industrial giant and turn around the nationâ€™s current economic problems.