• “BPE Spent All Of $4bn Privatisation Proceeds On Staff Welfare”
In the face of the intractable challenges of the nation’s power sector at a time many Nigerians are suffering untold hardship, Senate President Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday said the task of fixing it is at the highest priority list of many people today, given the direct link between the sector’s well-being, national growth and development.
Speaking at a two-day stakeholders’ interactive dialogue/workshop on the Nigerian power sector for the National Assembly, Dr. Saraki accused past leaders of being selfish, as they issued licenses “based on cronyism rather than capital adequacy, market experience and capacity to deliver.”
According to him, “we sold the discos to individuals and parties who had no idea about running a proper power distribution business.”
He particularly took a swipe on the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) for doing “things that were inexcusable.
“Not one single kobo of $4 billion from proceed of privatisation of power was expended towards catalyzing the sector back to life,” by the BPE, he lamented.
“…To imagine that even the sale proceeds of about $4bn was solely spent towards the payment of pensions and staff. Not one single kobo was expended towards catalyzing the sector back to life.
“GENCOS (Power Generation Companies) bought generating units without a clear assurance of source of gas to fire plants and government had no active roadmap for delivery of a gas market infrastructure to make this happen. Yet gas companies and the IOCs (International Oil Companies) were exporting our gas out of our shores to create gas markets elsewhere in Europe and Asia while we languished in darkness as a result of incessant, persistent and erratic power outages. In the face of all these our people continued to be called upon to bear inexplicable bills estimated beyond rationale service value.”
The result of such failure to put national interest ahead of all, Saraki continued, can be linked to Nigeria’s current economic woes as is visible through the “stagnating growth statistics, loss of SME jobs in a country with a large and rapidly growing population, factories shutting down in growing numbers, dwindling family investable income and opportunities mostly due to the high cost imposed by inadequate electricity supply. “Indeed, the link between electricity supply and economic development is such that the health of the industry is a matter of deep and personal concern to all citizens.
“Wherever you go in the country nothing represents the failure of government and leadership in the mind of Nigerian like the epileptic power situation in the country,” he stressed, assuring that the National Assembly “is fully ready to support and drive every actionable initiative that is expected out of this interactive session to boost the power sector significantly. We will be relying heavily on your wisdom and input, to craft the right legislative initiatives that will help us deliver a new and more reliable Nigerian power sector for the Nigerian economy.”