“WAPIC has grown to be the leader in the promotion and deepening of trade, technology and investment across the region. This is commendable.”

Reynolds Dagogo-JackExclusive interview with Reynolds Dagogo-Jack, Chairman, Presidential Task Force on power (PTFP) in Nigeria.  Mr Dagogo-Jack is a high-level panellist during the open session of the upcoming West African Power Industry Convention from 18-19 November in Lagos.

What do you think has been the Presidential Task Force on Power’s biggest accomplishment(s) thus far?
The PTFP was created by President Goodluck Jonathan to develop a credible Power Sector Reform Agenda and ensure its delivery within the stated timeline. Therefore, the successful handing-over of the previously government managed utilities across the power value chain made up of 6 Generation companies and 10 Distribution Companies to the new private sector owners on November 1, 2013 who shall operate in a fully contracted and regulated electricity market is our best accomplishment considering the size and number of hurdles which were surmounted to get there.

What has been a struggle or a disappointment so far in your view?
There has been no disappointment at all. This is because in designing the reform program we carefully studied the experiences of other countries and so there was no unforeseen risk. The struggle currently lies with the level of pro-activeness required from the sector institutions to navigate the reform from the current transition phase to market stability.

What in your opinion are the biggest challenges to the power industry in Nigeria?  And in the region?
The biggest challenge is achieving a quick shift in the mind-set of the stakeholders at both policy and consumer levels within and beyond Nigeria. This will redefine the sector fundamentals and enable us create sustainable integrated electricity markets across the regional power pool. The persisting idea in many countries that power should be an almost free social responsibility of government must be replaced very fast with a more sustainable mind-set.

What would you say to a prospective investor about the potential of the power sector?
The electricity coverage across Africa is so low that investors do not need any complex feasibility studies to see the huge opportunity here. Fortunately, most African Governments are embracing and implementing impressive sector reforms capable of giving the right incentives for investors.

What is your vision for this industry?
The industry is currently undergoing some teething problems understandably arising from decades of a poorly planned and managed sector by government monopolies. As the private sector footprint in the sector gets larger I foresee an explosion of industry activities whose contribution to the economies of Nigeria and its neighbours will be phenomenal. I also foresee aggressive growth in local manufacturing and manpower training to support the industry.

What has surprised you during your tenure at the Task Force so far?
Nothing really has surprised me. Nevertheless the general public expectation that immediately after the handing-over to the private sector, Nigeria should experience 24 hour electricity supply without consideration that there will be a challenging transitional phase perplexed me a bit.

What will be your message at WAPIC this year?
WAPIC has grown to be the leader in the promotion and deepening of trade, technology and investment across the region. This is commendable. Going forward, you can begin to commit more time to the development of institutional capacity for the strengthening of the regional power pool which represents new opportunities for future growth in the industry.

How important is this event on the power calendar of the region?
I believe it’s quite important. The growth in attendance every year testifies to this.

Anything you would like to add?
Please accept my commendation and keep it up.