Poor Nigerians are to enjoy a Federal Government subsidy under the Power Sector Roadmap set to be unveiled soon.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who dropped hints of the planned subsidy on Tuesday, allayed fears that those in rural areas might not be able to afford the cost of electricity under private investors.
As part of the ongoing privatization process, the Federal Government has ratified the sale of 10 electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) and four generation companies (GENCOs).
Already, share certificates and licenses have been issued to the 14 new core owners of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies, with actual take over of the firms only weeks away.
Maku, speaking in Abuja at the second edition of the monthly briefing by the Ministry of Information on the performance of the economy, said the Federal Government had guaranteed that all Nigerians, irrespective of their social status, would have unhindered access to electricity when private investors eventually take over the power sector.
Maku said the planned subsidy and other programmes were all geared toward long term sustainability and genuine transformation of the sector.
“We have put in place all other support institutions to ensure the efficient functioning of the electricity market, the minister explained.
“The payment of severance package to PHCN staff is to be concluded by the end of October and physical handover to the new owners thereafter,’’ he said.
The minister also said the successes recorded so far and the projected growth in the sector represented the ingenuity of the transformation to turn deficit into opportunities for investments in the power sector.
He appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the President, noting that the benefits of the planning and investments in the sector in the past few years would soon begin to yield results.
Maku said the Federal Government planned to address most of the challenges facing the 10 new power plants and inaugurate those that have yet to be inaugurated before the end of 2013.
He assured Nigerians that they would experience improvements in the power sector from 2014 and beyond.
The minister stated that more funds from the private sector would be put into distribution facilities in the years to come.