From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
THE Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has advised owners of power assets, especially in the distribution arm of the electricity value chain, to embrace new commercial behaviour suitable for operating optimally in the new commercial environment of the power sector.
Fashola made the remark in Abuja while receiving a delegation from the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) led by its Vice Chairman, Mrs. Sola David- Borha. He said power asset owners should be ready to bring in more funds by offering to dilute their stakes in exchange for sorely needed inputs like meters, transformers and other equipment required for systems upgrade, insisting that it would make more business sense to give up some shares in exchange for funds and capital.
The Minister hinted that if this advice is acceded to, it will make for redistribution of their risk assets in exchange for equipment and capacity to drastically reduce the prevailing high occurrences of commercial and technical losses.
He further reminded the power asset owners that the success of the privatisation exercise of the sector solely rests on the distribution end in the value-chain hence, urging them to step up their collections to meet the time-lines agreed with government for all parties to respect agreements and take full responsibility for their actions.
The Minister commended the leadership of NESG for expressing the group’s willingness to partner with his Ministry in proffering solutions through constant engagements with the NESG/ Private Sector-led economic think-tank working on the three main sectors under his purview, which are critical areas of growth and development in the nation’s economy.
He said that governments exist because of the private sector’s large segments of people, from the unemployed to the big corporations, while enjoining distribution companies to brace up in overcoming some of the challenges currently faced by the sector.
Fashola also reminded Nigerians that the new tariff regime which is cost-reflective is not to short-change customers but to improve on the level of liquidity available to the entire electricity value chain.