Osinbajo Reiterates FG’s Commitment to Resolve Challenges in Electricity Sector
POLITICSDIGEST– Vice president Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated the commitment of the Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration to resolving the challenges in the electricity sector in order to deliver efficient, stable, reliable and affordable power to Nigerians
Osinbajo made the declaration in a keynote address at the official launching of the Electricity Law Reports published by SQS Publishing Limited, Professor Osibajo reiterated .
The Electricity Law Reports is a biannual publication that contains an exact reproduction of the judgments of various courts as well as landmark decisions of the industry regulator, detailed analysis of facts, issues, subject matter and findings on all known judgments and decisions of the industry supreme regulator (reported and unreported).
The Vice President noted in his address that despite attempts by the Federal Government to address the post-privatization challenges, the sector has not fared any better. This is owing to technical and commercial misalignment that has led to high technical and commercial losses by operators resulting in suboptimal market performance.
Consequently, Professor Osinbajo claimed that “the Federal Government has initiated a series of intervention programs designed to deliberately address the challenges in the power sector. One of such initiatives is the Power Sector Recovery Program. The program, “was proposed to address the commercial challenges in the electricity sector with a view of strengthening the performance of the electricity distribution companies, achieving financial and fiscal stability and enhancing accountability in the sector.”
Professor Osinbajo further noted that “while it was necessary to ensure the commercial viability of the sector, it is also imperative to balance same with social responsibility. This balance would allow the government to redirect vital resources currently being deployed to support the sector to critical areas such as health, education and infrastructure.”
Other initiatives highlighted in the Vice President’s speech include: the World Bank distribution rehabilitation program which is focused on the mass metering of customers; the Presidential Power Initiative aimed at addressing infrastructure gaps in the transmission and distribution networks; and, the African Development Bank Distribution Rehabilitation Program aimed at providing concessionary financing to the electricity distribution companies for the critical interface issues between Transmission Company of Nigeria and the electricity distribution companies to execute key priority projects.
The Vice President closed by commending the editorial team of the Electricity Law Reports for their diligence in compiling and editing the cases reported with accuracy, deciding what is worth reporting and providing useful analysis of each reported decision. This, the Vice President said, “makes this reports a delight to researchers, investors and legal practitioners.”
Similarly, Engr. Olalere Odusote, the Lagos state Honourable Commissioner of Energy, Mineral Resources, in his keynote address stated that the Lagos State Government remains focused on ensuring reliable electricity access in the State through policies, regulations and infrastructure.
The Commissioner stated the average daily supply of electricity to Lagos from the National grid is less than 900 megawatts and the Lagos population deploys up to 15,000 megawatts of self-generation. He also mentioned that “over 60 percent of electricity customers in Lagos are unmetered. In order to bridge this very wide gap in supply and infrastructure, the State developed about 5 IPPs and deployed solar assets to 213 schools and primary health care centers in the State.”
Furthermore, Engr Odusote stated that “the State embarked on another initiative to ensure the full metering of Lagos, one community at a time in partnership with the “Discos”, German International Development Agency (GIZ) and other providers. It conducted a smart meter hackathon to encourage the local design and production of affordable meters.
Also, Lagos State has commenced work on an integrated energy resource plan in partnership with Power Africa, the U.S Agency for International Development Power Electrification Programme in Nigeria.”
The Commissioner would later opine that “the Lagos State Electricity Power Sector Reform Law 2018 which the first of its kind by a sub-national government in Nigeria, was a very important indication the State’s strong resolve to drive reliable access to electricity.”
In closing, the Commissioner applauded the initiative of the Editorial Committee of the Electricity Law Reports. He further noted that the Reports is timely and important at this stage of development in the power sector.
A key feature of the Launch was a Panel Discourse titled “Nigeria’s Power Sector Privatization: The Way Forward.” The Panelists included: Mr. Yunana Jackdell Malo, Director of Energy, BPE, Mr. Akin Akinfemiwa, CEO, of Geregu Power Plc., Mr. Dafe Akpeneye, NERC Commissioner (Legal, Licensing & Compliance), Mrs. Folake Soetan, CEO, Ikeja Electric and Hon. Folajimi Lai-Muhammed, member, Lagos State House of Assembly, Representing Ikeja Constituency 1. The discourse was moderated by Ms. Rahila Thomas, Director of EMRC.
The consensus of the panelists at the end of the discourse was that stakeholder’s collaboration is key and that the adoption of a performance-based industry is essential to ensure efficiency. It was also agreed that long term local financing is critical to reduce the cost of financing and encourage more local investment within the sector.
The event ended with the launch of the Reports by Mr Aderemi Makanjuola, Chairman of COSG PLC, who was ably represented by Professor Gbolahan Elias, SAN.