One hundred days into new investors management of the country’s power sector, the organised private sector (OPS) is experiencing worst times in the power supply system which has resulted in low productivity and lack of capacity to retain jobs.
They are therefore asking government to see how to work around the system and return the country to status quo. Barring his mind on the present power situation while speaking with the Leadership in Lagos, the director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Mr. Muda Yusuf said that given the present predicament faced by the private sector, potential investors are apparently apprehensive of making fresh investments. Yusuf observed that presently the cost of doing business has gone up and small scale business operators are profoundly affected as they hardly could retain production capacity. “Even though it is difficult to get exact loss in terms of figures, obviously the small and medium enterprises are grossly performing below capacity” he stated adding that since the AGO (diesel) has been regulated, the cost per litre goes between N155 and N160.
The implication of this he said is low productivity, low capacity utilisation and job losses. “It is a productivity issue, a major factor here is declining productivity and this is also affecting sustainability” Yusuf pointed out. According to him, the new investors appear to be lacking in capacity because there is not visible change since they took over the power infrastructures.
“I think a major issue here is that they may have disengaged in error, some technically skilled personnel in the system and therefore exposing them to manpower gap” the D-G said.
He said there has been monumental deterioration in the delivery system and has significantly eroded investors confidence and which will have a dire consequence on the economy.
The director general advised government to assist the new investors who are currently battling to return the country to status quo by investing the money claimed to be used in subsiding kerosene to fix the sector.
He said because investing in the sector is capital intensive, government should exercise some discipline in its claimed expenditure in the petroleum sector and turn around the power industry which is germaine to economic recovery.
Yusuf said various theories being presented by government as responsible for the sector’s poor performance are not tenable as some of them had been known before putting the facilities for sale under the privatization exercise.
“To me it appeared as if government was just interested in the money from the investors but today the entire situation is embarrassing and system is not even on standstill but worsening with investors totally confused” he added.