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2 MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2017 Vox pop How should FG intervene in power sector? • Mr. Olawole Oladapo (Secretary, Civil Societies Coalition for Emancipation of Osun) T hE Federal Government needs to urgently intervene in the power sector because of the central role it plays in the nation’s economy. I think that power supply should be a social service. The Federal Government should not leave this sector completely in the hands of private investors because government has a role to play for stability and efficiency. Our lives depend on power; the economy of a nation depends on power; and if you look at everything we do for a living in Nigeria, they all depend on power. Unfortunately, power supply has been decreasing in Nigeria while the population is growing geometrically. Although power supply is near zero in many areas across Nigeria, what the distribution companies are charging is too expensive and they are still planning to increase it from its current N25 per kilowatt to N68 per kilowatt. This will kill many businesses. The electricity regulatory agency should make sure that the DISCOS are forced to charge Nigerians affordable tariffs, especially in this season of recession. I believe power generation will be boosted if government can contact universities and other research centres to make research into how we can use other natural resources we have to generate electricity. We should not depend on hydro and gas for power generation alone. Government must make sure that we tap into our numerous natural resources available abundantly all over the country to generate power. Coal is available in abundance in Enugu State, but Nigeria has not explored the opportunity of generating electricity from this natural resource. We should look at this and other resources to improve our power generation Government should invest in other means of power generation like wind and solar. If coal is tapped into, power generated through it would be supplied to consumers in the south-eastern states and hydro will service those states close to where this is available and solar power will be used to serve those states where this is abundantly available all year round. W E must stop playing politics with this very serious issue of national importance. It is the platform on which we can talk about any reasonable development in this country without discrimination because it is actually going to help to produce the level of economic growth we desire. Government needs to revisit the privatisation exercise because it is obvious that most of our power assets were sold to individuals and groups who lack the capacity to deliver. The Federal Government needs to sit down with these people and re-negotiate if need be, because whatever they earlier agreed upon is not working. For now, the generation of power and distribution of the same are not at par. For instance, we are being told that more power is being generated than the distribution companies have the capacity to distribute; government needs to invest massively in alternative sources of energy. T hE power sector is one major infrastructure that the government, in my opinion, has not done the proper thing about. Privatisation of the power sector entails that core investors bring in investments, but currently, nothing has been added in terms of investments since the core investors purchased the distribution companies. There are a lot of problems with the privatisation exercise earlier carried out. There is a need to take a second look at the contract between the government and the discos. Government should determine whether they have met the conditions of sale. If they have not, the Federal Government may have to look into it again. These investors should be made to meet N •Mazi Emma Okoro (Abuja-based consultant and public affairs commentator) T •Chief James Emadoye (Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria/ Information Technology expert) •Mr. Oladipo Bashir (Secretary, Victory Crown Associates) hE power situation in the country is bad. It is so because both government and those who bought the facilities of the defunct Power holding Company of Nigeria are not serious. Those who bought the PhCN facilities have not invested in the sector. They only acquired those facilities with the hope that they will just come into the sector and start reaping. Apart for that, they are also defrauding Nigerian electricity consumers by not providing prepaid meters. I have had dealings with the Eko Electricity • Distribution Company and the Benin Electricity Distribution Company. 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