Labour leaders are demanding for the cancellation of the sale and reversal of 45 percent increase in tariff effected in February.
However, the government said though it agreed the deal was fraudulent there were legal issues that might make it impossible to reverse the sale.
Speaking at a Senate public hearing on the electricity tariff yesterday, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said government’s interests were illegitimately sold to some private businesses.
“As a minister, I inherited a power sector where government’s interests have been illegally sold and, therefore, I don’t control how power is distributed.”
“The DISCOS made it very clear to us that if we did not give them the market reflective tariff it means that government would have to carry the continuing cost that accumulated in the region of about a trillion naira.
“The tariff was increased in 2015 and then reversed because of the electoral significance. But the debts that they created were not reversed and they continued to accrue into this administration.
“We are not insensitive to Nigerians, owing to their challenges. We were looking for the best way to solve what has become an over 60-year problem, since 1950, when TCN was first created. I guess tariffs may initially look excessive but when we count and measure the down times and how much time is lost when there is no sustainable electricity and measure them against the expectation of sustained electricity overtime, perhaps it would seem cheaper.”
Fashola, who admitted that power supply in the country had not significantly improved, said confidence had been restored in the sector.