Nigeria’s Power Sector Privatization Fails to Meet Objectives, Only Serves 15% of Demand, Says President Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu expressed his concern on Monday regarding the underperformance of Nigeria’s power sector privatization, which has failed to meet its objectives. Speaking at the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry market participants and stakeholder roundtable, which focused on the issue of privatization, President Tinubu emphasized the urgent need for the recapitalization of power distribution companies.

He highlighted that the national grid, despite being privatized a decade ago, currently caters to only approximately 15 percent of the country’s electricity demand. Tinubu, represented at the event by the Special Adviser, Energy and Infrastructure, Office of the Vice President, Sodiq Wanka, noted that preliminary analysis indicated that the Distribution Companies (Discos) are significantly under-capitalized, with a deficit approaching N2 trillion.

“I believe it is fair to say that the objectives of sector privatization have, by and large, not been met. Over 90 million Nigerians lack access to electricity. “The national grid only serves about 15 per cent of the country’s demand. This has left households and factories relying on expensive self-generation, which supplies 40 per cent of the country’s demand. “What is worse is that the total amount of electricity that can be wheeled through the national grid has remained relatively flat in the last 10 years.”

Moreover, the President advocated for the rebasing of Nigeria’s power tariffs, recognizing that the existing pricing structure no longer aligns with the current state of the power sector. He acknowledged the ongoing struggle, with over 90 million Nigerians lacking access to electricity, and a substantial portion of the population resorting to costly self-generation methods, which provide 40 percent of the nation’s power demand.

Tinubu also pointed out that the total amount of electricity that can be transmitted through the national grid has seen minimal growth over the past decade, indicating a stagnant power infrastructure.

The President’s remarks underscore the critical challenges facing Nigeria’s power sector, which necessitate immediate attention and reform. Efforts are being called for to enhance accessibility, improve infrastructure, and boost the performance of the power sector to meet the growing electricity needs of the nation’s citizens and industries.

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