Reps Summon Finance Minister, Others Over Power Plants Sale
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance has summoned the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed and of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, over the planned sale of five power plants.
Also summoned were the Director-General for the Bureau for Public Enterprise, Alex Okoh, Managing Directors, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Joseph Ugbo and MD/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Dr Nnaemeka Ewelukwa.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, James Faleke, in separate letters to the Federal Government bodies and officials concerned, a copy of which our correspondent sighted on Sunday, described the planned sale of the power plants as unconstitutional and a disservice to the nation’s development as the assets jointly belong to the three tiers of the government – federal, states and local governments.
The letter read in part, “The House of Representatives has observed with grave concern, the proposed sale of the five National Integrated Power Plants namely Benin Generation Company Limited, Calabar Generation Company Limited, Geregu Generation Company Limited, Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited and Omotoso Generation Company Limited by the Bureau for Public Enterprise without due regard to constitutional principles and economic policy that informed the establishment of those power plants.
“The committee decried the proposed sale as unconstitutional and a disservice to all known principles of national development and the sharing equity among the three tiers of government.
“Considering the critical role your agency is playing in sustainable energy sector in the country, you are please requested to stop all further processes regarding this transaction and to submit the following information for the committee’s determination of the way forward.”
The committee asked NBET to provide a breakdown of the capacity and monthly income of all the power plants, a full disclosure of all the power plants that have taken or pay agreements as well as electricity consumed and not consumed from inception.
The lawmakers also requested information on all agreements with the power plants on take-or-pay basis, approvals needed by the NBET Board, the Federal Executive Council, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and the BPE with regard to the take-or-pay basis as well as a copy of the power purchase agreement to the NDPHC already earmarked for sale by the BPE.
Also demanded by the panel were data on each of the power plants earmarked for sale, including the capacity of each plant, staff strength and remuneration from the NDPHC, as well as a comprehensive revenue and expenditure profile of each plant since inception.
The NDPHC is also to provide evidence of compliance with relevant extant procurement and BPE Act, details of the agreement between Calabar Power plant and Seven Energy Limited, in addition to the FEC and BPE appraisal as well as the AGF’s advice on the subject.
The Ministry of Finance is to supply a copy of the legal advice from the AGF in respect of the sovereign guarantee on behalf of the Federal Government to Seven Energy Limited for gas supply to Calabar Power generation Company Limited; a copy of the FEC memo and the approval to NBET on the said transaction; breakdown of payments made by the ministry on behalf of the NDPHC to Seven Energy Limited since the signing of the agreement and repayment so far.
In addition, the BPE is expected to provide the House with a list of the power plants earmarked for sale; proposed time frame for the privatisation exercise; technical adviser appointed for the exercise and process for hiring their services; bid processes and criteria for selection disclosing the list of qualified bidders an their profile in the power sector.
The Minister of Power is to also provide a copy of the FEC memo/approval for the sum of N701bn paid to NBET for the power plants and a breakdown of the monthly payment approved by the ministry to NBET for the power plants.
The House had on Thursday asked the BPE to stop the planned sale of five power plants, warning the Director-General against continuing with the process.