22 November 2012

Nigeria: Why FG Restored TCN Contract to Manitoba

Photo: Leadership
Electric transmission lines

The fear of losing in court and the likely setback for the power sector reforms may have made President Goodluck Jonathan to reverse his termination of the management contract of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to Manitoba Hydro International of Canada on Tuesday.

The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) finally sent a ratification letter to the Bureau of Public Enterprises on Monday, reports said, putting a stop to the controversy over the contract process.

Manitoba Hydro had threatened to go to court to seek redress in the event of an eventual cancellation of its $23.7 million contract to run the TCN for three years which formally commenced on September, 1, 2012.

Last week Tuesday, reports were rife in the media of President Goodluck Jonathan's approval of the contract's cancellation, citing non-adherence to procurement procedure. The development was greeted with wide criticism from industry experts and other members of the public who feared that the move could set reforms in the sector back.

A source in the Power ministry told Daily Trust yesterday, "Manitoba had threatened to go to court if the contract was cancelled and they apparently have an argument because a contract had been entered into with them by the federal government. Terminating the contract without any fault of theirs was a legitimate ground for them to seek redress and could have won in court."

When Daily Trust contacted the Managing Director of Manitoba Hydro in Nigeria, Mr. Don Priestman yesterday, he declined to comment.

Mr. Priestman said, "I am yet to receive any official notification. That is all I would like to say now. May be when I get more information later, we can talk."

It took the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) five years to conclude the TCN contract with Manitoba, starting during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo through that of late President Musa Yar'adua and down to President Goodluck Jonathan. It was done through bidding where the Power Grid of India lost out.

However, a memo from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to the President alleged the process was flawed and recommended the termination of same.

The President had acquiesced to the recommendation as confirmed by his spokesman, Mr. Rueben Abati to Reuters last Wednesday.

The President however denied that it was canceled later.

Copyright © 2012 Daily Trust. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.