Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, says it is unacceptable to Nigerians that the country lacks a reliable power supply and that some areas are without power.
Gbajabiamila stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at a public hearing organized by the House Committee on Power on the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill.
The Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2005, according to the Speaker, is an important piece of legislation that is still the “most significant statutory reform of the power sector in Nigeria for a generation.”
According to him, the provisions of the Act were meant to provide a new framework for effective public-private sector partnership to accelerate power sector development and enhance efficiency across the power sector value chain when it was prepared and passed into law.
He stated that “one of the many topics in discussion” is the extent to which these expectations have been met. The aim of the hearing, he added, was to answer the question of what needs to be done to strengthen the Act so that it serves the greatest interests of our country.
He emphasized that it was an opportunity for government stakeholders, including industry and citizen groups, to participate in a structured conversation and contribute views that would aid the House in undertaking “a long-overdue reform of one of the critical legislation governing the operations of Nigeria’s power sector.”
Gbajabiamila said, “Every Nigerian understands that the electric power sector in Nigeria is not performing optimally. Most people recognise that a situation where we cannot expect 24-hour electricity in our cities and many rural areas remain wholly disconnected from the benefits of access to electricity is unacceptable. And we all, for the most part, agree that it is the responsibility of the government to do something about this situation.
“Unfortunately, that is usually the extent of agreement on the subject. Speak to ordinary citizens and industry operators, regulators and government officials, you will quickly find that there are many very different understandings of why the dysfunction in our power sector exists and persists. And there are just as many ideas and recommendations for how to fix it.”
The Speaker praised the Chairman, Aliyu Magaji, and members of the Committee on Power for their hard work on the bill, adding he was eager to see the results of their efforts and hoped that they would be successful.
He said “in the fullness of time, we can look back on the work that we have done on this bill and be proud that in the time we had, we did our best to fix this most critical area of our economy and national life.”