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Elumelu hits back at Discos, calls for new investors

Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and Transnational Corporation Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has observed poor services delivery and asked the Federal Government to immediately review the entire process that lead to the emergence of current service providers.

Speaking at the ongoing 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, he argued that for the economy to move forward time has come for the government to wrestle out electricity distribution companies (Discos) from incompetent private operators and sell the firms to new owners who are capable of successfully running them.

According to many Discos are currently holding the nation at ransoms and may continue if nothing tangible is done as soon as possible.

Looking at a new idea, the chairman of Heirs Holdings and Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) called for the recapitalisation of the firms which need to be followed by Federal Government shoring up its stake from the current 49 per cent in order to sell same in each of the Discos to new investors.

He observed further that “Our people are very enterprising and they want to succeed. But they need the right environment to succeed. I appreciate what the government is doing for electricity, but we need to do more.

“I empathise with the government on its efforts in that sector. But Mr. Vice President, I think there is a lot we can do to correct the ownership of that sector without affecting the property rights of the investors. That sector must be dealt with for us to have power to do business.”

He submitted that Power market is self sustaining globally and wondered why it is different here in Nigeria.

“The market should be able to sustain itself. This is what I think. The government has to take actions that will ensure the adequate funding of the operations of the Discos.

“Mr. VP, I know some of the operators in this sector will not like this. This is my idea. We cannot reverse what has been done, but we can creatively address what has been done.

“If the government, to my understanding, has 49 per cent of the Discos and the private companies have 51 per cent, can we ask these companies to recapitalise? Let the Federal Government recapitalise them. They will not be able to put in more capital. So, the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated, should increase its holding,” Elumelu averred.