Adelabu Applauds Judiciary’s Contributions To Power Sector Reforms, Investments

Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu.

The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu has applauded the contributions of the Judiciary to the reforms and private investments in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

Chief Adelabu gave the commendation during the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)’s 4th Seminar for Judges, at the National Judicial Institute (NJI) on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said, “the Nigerian judiciary has helped NESI with notable pronouncements and the act of the judiciary goes far in attracting private investments in the power sector.

“In the financial services industry, we say that investments will only follow certainty; and there appears to be no greater means of providing certainty than predictable, clear, and logical judicial precedent that is dispensed by a competent bench”, the Minister noted.

He also applauded NERC for the laudable initiative geared towards building the capacity of the Nigerian bench towards achieving the desired objective of predictable, clear, and logical judicial precedent in matters affecting the power sector.

Chairman, NERC, Engr. Sanusi Garba.

According to him, the notable legislative changes in the sector have been the amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with the granting of unfettered powers to sub-nationals to develop electricity markets within their jurisdictions and the Electricity Act 2023 that was assented to by Mr. President in the first month of his administration.

Adelabu noted that the Electricity Act 2023 introduced far-reaching features that propel market liberalisation, extend regulatory reach, and establish a more coherent policy framework that will mitigate the operational and systemic risks in NESI.

He said, “as we navigate our path towards a more commercially viable electricity market that is characterised legal and contractual obligations, the imperative to understand the peculiar and nuanced nature of a regulated electricity market becomes even more imperative.

“This seminar is part of the broader vision of the Commission and NJI to engage the members of the judiciary on important developments in the sector. The judiciary’s pivotal role, through notable pronouncements, contributes significantly to attracting private investment in the power sector”, he added.

Earlier in his Opening Remarks, the Chairman, NERC, Engr. Sanusi Garba said, the Seminar has been a tradition and recurrent item in the Commission’s work plan, adding that one of the key objectives of the seminar, was to stimulate a discourse on emerging legal issues relating to the NESI and to appraise the judiciary of the recent changes in the regulatory landscape.

He said, the Commission invested dedicated hours to enact subsidiary legislation relating to the workings of the power sector. Therefore, it has the power to issue regulations that are complied with by all participants and licensees.

The Chairman said, the Commission has judicial functions under which the panel of Commissioners sit to hear and adjudicate on matters relating to disputes, appeals, and objections raised in the industry.

Participants at the opening ceremony of a three-day Seminar for Judges organised by NERC.

However, he said, “the success of this aspect of our work as a commission is the intersection of this delegated responsibility and the work of the judiciary”’.

He noted that the Nigerian power sector over the years has gone through very difficult times but even more difficult since the commencement of the reform agenda. Therefore, stated that the outline of the 2024 seminar was carefully chosen to provide opportunities for the judges to catch up with the industry developments over the last few years.

Also speaking, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Hon. Justice Salisu Garba, who represented the Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola said, the Judicial officers must not only understand the process and policies of government in the NESI, but also comprehend the contexts in which these policies are meant to be applied.

“Therefore, this workshop is tailored for capacity building of judicial officers on the evolving issues in the NESI”, he said.

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