Nigeria mulls handing over power utilities to state governments

By Isaac Anyaogu

LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria’s government is considering handing over its stake in 11 power utilities to state governments to improve oversight and address the country’s chronic power shortages, the minister of power said on Friday.

The federal government holds a 40% interest in 11 power distribution companies (DISCOs) that were privatised a decade ago, each of which operates a franchise spanning three or more states.

Nigeria’s Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu said the federal government is open to swapping its shares in the DISCOs for shares in the privately managed Niger Delta Power Holding Co, a separate power firm it jointly owns with the states and local governments.

“We are committed to collaborating closely with the state ministries of power to tackle challenges in the distribution segment, considering its retail nature,” Adelabu said in a post on X.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation of more than 200 million people, produces a fraction of its installed power generation capacity of 12,500 megawatts, leaving millions of households and businesses reliant on generators for electricity.

President Bola Tinubu, who has embarked on Nigeria’s boldest reforms in decades, signed a new law that allows state governments to generate and distribute power, replacing a previous law that gave only the federal government exclusive rights.

(Reporting by Isaac Anyaogu; Editing by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo and Lisa Shumaker)