Sam Amadi, a former chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, said the privatisation has several loopholes that are not adequately handled.
“Unlike other countries, we are privatising from acute shortage, acute scarcity, it is also better to ramp up capacity, to have a market, a tradable quantity. If you have like 80,000 MW, then the notion of a private regulatory market will be more real than academic. Thirdly, the level of risk and decay of our infrastructure and utility before privatisation. It was doubtful if any serious investor with significant technical and financial capability would have come to the market.
“I think the process was good enough. I believe the Bureau of Public Procurement ( BPP) tried to be transparent, but the proposition was wrong. We needed to corporatise and commercialise fully. The argument was this: we needed shock therapy, that was the neo-liberal argument spreading abroad, promoting shock therapy: get the utilities into a private hand, and private ownership will incentivise efficiency, but that’s not true.
“What we should have done is an orderly transition from public ownership to private ownership. First, we build a corporate profile, instil commerciality, and have corporate governance.”