Civil Society Calls for Transparency in the Electricity Market
It is really interesting to observe that suggestions to resolve the power problems in Nigeria are coming from divergent quarters. The latest is coming from a civil society organisation, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) managed by the social activist, Mr Eze Onyechere.
According to the director of the civil society in a 21-page sectoral review and suggestions on the way forward, the federal government was among other recommendations called upon to ensure that all funds collected by the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) are transparently remitted and managed.
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), also called on the National Council on Power (NACOP) to prevail on the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in carrying out a forensic audit of all the accounts of the DISCOs with the commercial banks throughout the country so as to confirm their exact revenue profiles.
The CBN was also asked to create a single digit interest special renewable energy fund to be dedicated to the expansion of renewable energy solutions in the country. Such a fund should be configured to support skills acquisition, capacity building and local production of renewable energy components.
The 21-page report titled ‘Implementing the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility: A Review’ which was released in Abuja by CSJ in collaboration with Henrich Boll Stiftung.
Another recommendation the civil society made was for appropriate sanctions to be meted out to any distributor found to be collecting enough revenue that will enable it to pay for the market operators and Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) invoices but have not done so.
In another report titled: ‘Solar Energy and, the Federal Budget: 2012-2016”, CSJ stated that the full observance of the Public Procurement Act 2007 had become imperative thereby urging the federal government to start with procurement planning. It stated that effective contract bidding processes bring about competition, prevent bid rigging and ensure value for money.
CSJ also recommended that provisions should be made for maintenance of the solar energy items by the contractor for a guranteed length of time and not just based on “install-and-abandon” basis.