Buhari seeks new investors for power sector



President Muhammadu Buhari has informed participants at the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit, NES, held in Abuja, of his intention to open up the power sector for fresh investors.

Represented by Zainab Ahmed, the minister of state for budget and national planning, Ahmed said the injection of fresh capital would enable the plants function better.

Part of the fresh plans, said Ahmed, was to restructure ownership and capacity of current investors in the sector and encourage owners who do not demonstrate sufficient capacity to operate the facilities cede their stakes to new investors.

He said negotiations would commence with power generation companies, DISCOs where the country is having the most difficulties in ensuring adequate power supply.

At the opening session of the summit, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had rejected a proposal by one of the operators who urged the federal government to inject more money in the power plants sold to private investors.

Osinbajo said rather than give fresh funding, current owners of those companies who have no capacity to finance their operations should transfer their equity to fresh investors to help realize that objective.

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Recall that the Chairman, Transcorp Ughelli Power Limited, Tony Elumelu, had earlier at the summit, urged the federal government to reconsider refinancing the electricity distribution companies, DISCos by acquiring fresh shares of the firms.

He berated the poor services delivery and asked the Federal Government to immediately review the entire process that lead to the emergence of current service providers.

Looking at a new idea, the chairman of Heirs Holdings and Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) called for the recapitalisation of the firms which need to be followed by Federal Government shoring up its stake from the current 49 per cent in order to sell same in each of the Discos to new investors.

Elumelu had said injecting fresh capital would check the current situation where operators of these power plants were holding the government to ransom with endless demands.


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