By Obas Esiedesa
Despite teething challenges facing the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), the foundation for the growth of the sector was laid with the privatization of successor companies of the defunct Power Holding Companies of Nigeria (PHCN), former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali has said.
Igali spoke in Abuja at the weekend during a send forth dinner hosted by Nextier Power in honour of Senior Advisor, Infrastructure, DFID, Mr. Keith Hammond and Director, Office of Economic Growth and Environment, USAID, Roseann Casey.
He described the power sector privatization which took place in 2013 as hugely ambitious, pointing that the reforms currently on-going would yield the desired result eventually.
He praised the roles played by international development partners in the process, explaining that the process was transparent and robust.
Igali who singled out Mr. Hammond who has spent over eight years in Nigeria for praise, stated that he played a significant role behind the scene to ensure that most of the problems hindering the privatization process were resolved.
On his part, Principal Partner at Nextier, Mr. Patrick Okigbo thanked Hammond and Casey for their help in developing the power sector in the country.
In his response, Mr Hammond urged stakeholders in the sector to keep the faith, pointing out that power sector reform was critical for Nigeria’s future.
He noted that Nigerians could by cynical about their leaders, but stressed a lot people were working hard and making sacrifices to ensure that the sector succeeds.
According to him, the challenges facing that sector seems “daunting at the moment but they will be resolved because if unresolved poses heavy economic burden on the country”.
The event was attended by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Syminton and other stakeholders in the power sector.