Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, on Tuesday inaugurated the six commissioners of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently cleared by the Senate, reminding them that though the nation’s power sector is young with private investors as drivers, there is need to be firm, but fair, while being supportive.
Welcoming them on board, the Minister urged the NERC commissioners to show understanding, while being “business oriented,” even as they must “remember that regulations are rules; and rules are made for us, we are not made for the Rules. Regulate with the understanding that the industry is young, in Transition and needs support.
The new commissioners are: Sanusi Garba, as Vice Chairman (North West) and Prof Frank Okafor (South East), both Electrical Engineers; afe Akpeneye, a Legal Practitioner (South South); Nathan Roger Shatti, an Accountant from the North East; Dr. Musiliu O. Oseni, an Economist (South West); and Dr. Moses Arigu a Scientist & Mathematician (North Central zone).
Fashola said the new commissioners were chosen in the manner prescribed by law, noting his expectation that the newly constitute board would provide “stability in governance regulatory action and institution building to the sector; and allows the Ministry to focus on policy; coordination and completion of on-going Generation and Transmission projects.”
He expressed appreciation to Dr. Anthony Akah, who acted in capacity of Chief Executive of NERC for about a year, who is to hand over to the Vice-Chairman and his fellow Commissioners and return to his normal schedule of duties.
The Minister recalled that privatization of the Nigerian power sector was concluded in November, 2013, resulting “in the vesting of majority of power generation and power distribution in the hands of private owners.
“So for the avoidance of doubt, power is now in private hands, and government is now largely a policy maker, and Regulator. Policy is the work of the Ministry and as I said, the completion of on-going Generation projects and Transmission projects.”
Regulation is the work of NERC, acting through the Commissioners, urging all those seeking license to generate power, to build coal and solar plants, and all other similar proposals, to send their letters to NERC and not to the Ministry, which may only be copied for information.
“For all those who have issues with Meters, Estimated Billing, Customer Service issue, this is the work of NERC to ensure that the DISCOs perform and I urge you to direct your complaints to them, and keep us informed about the service they render to you, because we oversee them; but will not interfere with their work,” he stressed.