Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has hinted at the Federal Government’s plan to further liberalize the power sector to allow for massive investments such that the sector will be bigger and better than Nigeria’s thriving telecommunications sector.
Osinbajo made these comments in an address at the Nigerian Initiative for Economic Development held at the Banquet Hall, State House, on Monday.
The gathering had in attendance foreign representatives and Nigerians in diaspora who exchanged ideas on how Nigeria could benefit significantly from investment inflows.
The acting president noted that Nigeria was a choice investment destination offering investors massive returns, a fact he said had attracted many investors into the country with positive stories afterwards.
Osinbajo said that Nigeria’s power sector had incredible potential, citing projections about its growth anchored on the massive market fueled by the country’s rapidly growing population.
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He stated that the government planned to open up the sector significantly so as to attract investments that will make it one of the biggest and most profitable sectors in the country.
His words: “This is a country of 180 million people and in another 10 years’ time we are probably going to be the sixth or seventh largest country in the world.
“There is no way we are not going to need power, whether it is off-grid power or on-grid power. Power is required by everyone where we have a major power deficit.
“So, we are going to open up that power sector and anyone who invests in power sector will definitely make money. No question. It is going to be much bigger and better than even the Telecos”.
Since the initial liberalization effort in Nigeria’s power sector, many analysts have observed that it did not go far enough, as it revolved mostly around generation and distribution, while transmission, though modified to include private sector mechanisms, remained tethered to public control.
Some critics of the power sector reform have pointed to the failure of investors to live up to expectations owing to continued challenges with liquidity, infrastructure rot, and limited technical capacity, as proof of an abused procurement process marked by nepotism and failure to undertake comprehensive due diligence.
Many Nigerians are tired of promises on improvement in power, and will hope that a further effort at opening up the sector will be fully anchored on the principles of free enterprise, not one subjected to undue interference and abuse.
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