As the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) is being ushered into a transition market era in a privatized economy, sector experts have cautioned the Federal Government to be wary of possible domination of the electricity market by some foreign firms. Various investment proposals are continuing to pour in at the Ministry of Power with the recent been the pact signing between General Electric Limited to support the renewable energy chain with about 57 billion naira in the post-privatisation era. At the just concluded Power Summit in Abuja , representative of Development Partners Coordination Group on Power , Dr Patrick Kormawa , noted that given their various contributions and investments from the United Nations Indutrial Development Organization (UNIDO), World Bank , European Union (EU) to mention but a few, total funding in the power sector reforms would reach $2 billion by 2018. Kormawa, who is optimistic that there will be a turnaround with these contributions said: "we are confident that this will contribute significantly towards the growth and sustainability of the power sector. Evidently, Nigeria is not alone." While analysts have lauded this partnership with the international community to salvage the power situation in Nigeria , they have also forewarned that failure to check the influx of power equipment importation and outsourcing of technical know-how could result in aliens stealing the sector from the hands of Nigerians. This became symptomatic recently in the alleged case involving Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) Schedule of Delegated Authority over the operations of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) where the expatriates were reported to be in conflict with the local management team. In order to address the problem, the Nigerian Electricity Regularity Commission (NERC) is pushing for the creation of a national content development regulation that will ensure the utilization of Nigerian-made human and material resources in the growing power sector. In proposing the Regulations on National Content Development for the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) 2013, NERC quoted Section 32 (1) (a) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005, declaring its mandate to "create, promote, and preserve efficient industry and market structures, and to ensure the optimal utilization of resources for the provision of electricity services." The Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi , during a recent presentation in London said the development was imperative as the NESI prepares for greater private participation with generation and distribution companies, with the commencement of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) by March 1 , barring any change. A statement from the commission read in part: "The regulations (National Content) shall apply to all licensees of the Commission in the electricity industry who will consequently be mandated to ensure the development of Nigerian content as a primary element in the execution of all projects." Amadi noted that the emergence of the regulation is to prevent foreign domination in the emerging private-led power sector that could open a channel for a drain in the nation's Gross National Income and human resource. Amadi stated that the power sector local content law is also intended in this early stage of the transition, to avoid the mistakes made in the oil and gas sector which is still dominated by expatriates, 50 years after. Local energy investors have attributed the current agitations around the oil producing areas of Nigeria to this trend of domination which they observed has caused friction with the host communities. They noted that Nigeria loses several barrels of oil, per day, because of the agitation by the host communities. They lamented that several foreign oil companies evade paying tax, royalties and are go unpunished for indiscriminate gas flaring, blaming the lack of extant laws and the failure to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) act into law for the problems. For the recently commissioned rural light-up pilot project in Shape, Abuja , supported by expatriate companies, Schneider Electrics and Philips Company , it was encouraging to hear the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo , said the hybrid solar project was locally developed. Though, sources said the solar panels and other accessories used for the projects' execution, including human capacity, may have been outsourced. The immediate gains of the proposed regulation, it is expected, would help indigenous firms, including government power equipment firms like the first Solar Panel Plant in Nigeria and West Africa . In a chat with newsmen, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) which established the Karshi Solar Panel Plant (KSPP), Engr. Mohammed Haruna , said power-sector local content should be promoted through the deliberate utilization of locally produced solar technologies and other power equipment. Haruna said: "Government ought to encourage our local production through practical patronage or by mandating contractors to procure the panels and other locally made power equipment in line with a local content initiative."
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