The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, on Wednesday stressed the need for operations in the power sector to be fully deregulated and concessioned, pointing out that with the ongoing reform of the nation's financial services sector, the capacity of banks to provide loan facilities is enhanced. Furthermore, banks would be encouraged to lend to interested investors in the power sector.
He said this when Christopher Anyanwu, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), visited him in Abuja. Urging closer collaboration between the apex bank and the BPE in the implementation of reforms in the various sectors of the economy, Mr. Sanusi observed that not much has been achieved in terms of improved generation, distribution and supply of electricity in the country, in spite of the huge funds invested in the sector by the government over the years.
He underscored the strategic importance of a stable power sector and the role of the Bureau, saying, "If you (BPE) are able to fix the problem of power supply in the country, you would have endeared yourself to Nigerians, because power drives the economy. And one cannot have economic growth in the country when investments in the sector are in the hands of government or an opportunistic few." He gave the assurance that the CBN is not only willing to offer whatever assistance required to see to the achievement of this national objective, it will also support financial institutions that are willing to finance the power sector, adding that banks are not encouraged to grant loans to investors in the sector in the past as a result of the non-involvement of players from the private investment.
He charged the Bureau to take full responsibility for its actions, pointing out that its failure to fix power in the country is impacting negatively on the organisation and indeed, the nation's economy.
Confidence in privatisation programme
Earlier, Mr. Anyanwu told the CBN governor that the Bureau shares the vision of his reforms, saying that the achievements in the banking sector have inspired confidence in the privatisation programme among both depositors and operators in the financial sector.
He solicited the co-operation of the CBN in the privatisation exercise, particularly the Nigeria Security Minting and Printing Company (NSPMC) and Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST), adding that the Bureau will hold strategic consultations with the apex bank on the reform programme on a regular basis, to ensure that the best value is derived from the various privatisation services in the sector.