Saturday, November 15, 2014 12:51 pm
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state has criticised the Federal Government over its power sector reform.
He said the reforms constituted the weakest link in his government’s drive to consign poverty to the dustbin of history.
“I think the greatest weakness we have right now, why we are not getting the kind of response we should get, is the weaknesses arising from the federal government’s mismanagement of the power sector over the past 16 years,” he said.
Oshiomhole spoke to TheNEWS editors on the challenges his government has been facing in fulfilling a key electoral promise made six years ago.
He lamented the acute power problems in the state, adding that the government house and many business establishments run on generators, entailing huge costs.
“The privatisation they (Federal Government) did, those who are given the businesses are precisely those who know next to nothing about power distribution and management. This area (the power distribution company in Edo area) was won by a banker. A bank MD is the general manager. And a man who had never had a history in the sector is the husband and the chairman. So it has become a family business. The result is that they try to collect money from poor people who they have not given any light. A couple of times we have had riots.”
Oshiomhole said the privatisation had gone sour because it was used for patronage rather than attract fresh capital.
He added: “You heard the federal government now saying that they are going to use tax payers’ money, N220 billion to support this private sector. So when government puts in N220 billion, is that still a private transaction? How much did they pay to acquire the assets, that you are now going to give them N220 billion? Is that not return to state ownership?”
He wondered why Nigerians are not asking these questions.
The governor revealed also that he daily receives demands from communities for transformers for extension of electricity to them.
“Why should government buy transformers with tax payers’ money for a privately owned distribution company, because the distribution company ought to have the financial muscles to procure transformers, because that is part of the distribution chain,” argued the governor