THERE are speculations that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola may have given approval to NERC to revoke licences of distribution companies who are unable to meet their privatisation obligations.
The speculations may have been given credence by the recent pronouncement by the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, who warned that the Federal Government would reacquire the stakes of non-performing DISCOs for $1, and float their shares on the stock market.
But in a swift denial, Chairman of the National Electric Regulatory Commission, Sam Amadi told National Daily that Fashola could not have given such approvals, considering that he is yet to have the details of the DISCOs operations, and was still studying developments in his ministry.
According to him, “the minister can’t approve for licences to be revoked when he doesn’t have any details on the operations of the DISCOs. Besides, revocation of licence is a last resort after every other measure may have failed. So it is not a decision that is taken lightly.”
He, however, admitted that the Minister, NERC and the DISCOs will be meeting for a formal introduction to Fashola, while NERC discusses the deliverables upon which tariff increases will be approved for the DISCOs.
Amadi disclosed: “NERC is working on service level agreements with the DISCOs, which will be tied to deliverables that will go with new tariffs, going forward.”
He further said: “The meeting with them (DISCOs) is strictly to talk about tariff. The minister also wants to meet with them to introduce himself to them and urge them to brace up to their responsibilities.”
Fashola had earlier met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and later with the Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, last week, to discuss development in the nation’s power sector, during which according to sources familiar with the meeting, stressed the need for DISCOs to recapitalise.
The minister had noted that the DISCOs needed to perform better, adding that there were several options open to them including recapitalisation by floating their shares in the capital market to raise the necessary funds to retool and run their operations.
He had also agreed that some deliverables be set for the DISCOs, as funding will no longer be accepted as an excuse for non-performance.