Vice President Nnamandi Sambo on Friday said the privatisation of the country's power sector would lead to greater efficiency.
Sambo was speaking in Ibadan at the handing over of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IEDC) to the new owners, the Integrated Energy Distribution Company and Marketing.
The Vice President, who is Chairman of National Council on Privatisation (NCP), was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anasthasia Nwaobia at the occasion.
"It needs to be reinstated that the electricity power reform programme became imperative in order to improve efficiency, reduce losses and cost.
"No doubt, this reform will lead to increased access to electricity, engender private sector investment, improve infrastructure, and create employment for the growing population," he said.
Sambo said that the journey for the privatisation of power started in 1999 with the inauguration of the Electric Power Implementation Committee (EPIC), adding that private sector participation would bring higher generation capacities.
"This will be made possible through the provision of more efficient and cost effective power stations and improvements in electric power distribution in areas of billing, collection and transmission networks," he said.
He said that such capital injection and efficiency had been inadequate in PHCN over the years resulting in gross inadequate power supply with attendant negative effects on the citizenry and the economy at large.
Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo, said that the privatisation process was an attempt by the government to ensure efficiency in the power sector with a view to boosting the economy of the nation.
"It is a major demonstration of the government's resolve to engender efficient performance of the nation's power sector and reinvigorate the economy," he said.
Gov. Ibikunle Amosu of Ogun, said that any nation without stable power sector would never progress and develop, saying "until NITEL was privatised, there was no breakthrough in the communication sector."
He, therefore, appeal that the new investors would be given two years to settle down before the assessment of their performance, adding that government had no business driving the power sector.
"Government has no business driving the power sector, but it is the duty of the private sector. Government can only come in and regulate once in a while," he said.
He then called on the investors to look inward to source for the materials and technology to be used to perform their dutied effectively.
He urged them to be ready to develop human capital potential locally.
Mr Olatunde Ayeni, the Vice Chairman of the new company said that the physical takeover of the IEDC would mark the beginning of a new phase in the Federal Government's efforts to encourage private sector participation in the power sector.
"The entire privatisation process is strategically important particularly in view of the inadequate electricity generation and distribution capacity in our country and increasing demand from electricity nationally."
He promised a more stable power supply which would ensure increased economic activities of host states, while assuring that they would manage the assets of the IEDC prudently.
NAN reports IEDC franchise areas include the states of Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Ekiti and part of Kogi, Niger and Kwara. NAN reports that the new investors are partnering with Manila Electricity Company from the Republic of Philippines for technical and management services for the project.
Highlight of the event was the handing over of the certificate of transfer of ownership to the new investors by Sambo's representative.