30 November 2012

Nigeria: NIPP Chief Suspends Leave to Save Power Projects

Abuja — The Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), the special intervention vehicle of Nigeria's three tiers of government managing the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), Mr. James Olotu, has suspended his annual leave to attend to newly deployed delay antics of contractors handling the various NIPP projects across the country.

Olotu's impromptu suspension of his leave may have been connected with accusations of irregularities levelled against some Nigerian firms that are involved in executing some NIPP power projects at the various power sites.

THISDAY gathered from sources at the presidency yesterday in Abuja, that indigenous firms were already deploying delay antics in the delivery of their respective jobs with the anticipation that such projects would provide them the opportunity to demand and extort more funds from government for the completion of the projects in the future.

It was also learnt that this form of trick was only peculiar to Nigerian contractors on board the scheme considering that most of the projects been executed by foreign contractors were on course for completion with minimal hitches.

Olotu, whose leave was due to run out in early January had summoned the contractors to Abuja, where he sought to know new reasons for the delay; he however tasked them to brace up to delivering their projects on time after he heard their complaints, adding that government would not entertain further excuses from them.

He also made an indirect reference to the NIPP equipment which were erroneously listed power items belonging to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in its central store at Shogunle Lagos and called on the Ministry of Power, the Presidential Task Force on Power and Nigerian Customs to quickly resolve what he tactically referred to as 'pending issues' so that the delivery date of the project would not be compromised.

On the issue of security and kidnapping of workers and theft of sensitive materials at NIPP sites, Olotu pledged to make additional overtures to the Inspector General of Police (IG) to rescind his directive on the withdrawal of policemen from private individuals, noting that the project needed coordinated protection in view of its sensitive nature.

The source also intimated that the issue of the contractors playing to the gallery had been one for a while now and had also pushed Olotu to convene an intensive meeting with the contractors on November 24 where the various issues delaying the projects were reported.

Accordingly, another series of meetings of the same magnitude, started Tuesday on the second floor of the PHCN conference room where both parties were said to have resolved to work together to accelerate the implementation of the projects.

Meanwhile, following the directive of the National Economic Council (NEC), the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has given state governments up to December 31 to submit a detailed valuation of their investments in the electricity distribution assets.

A statement for the Assistant General Manager Media of NERC, Maryam Abubakar, stated that the Chairman of the Commission had said at a meeting in Lagos with representatives of Eko Electricity Distribution Company and officials of the Lagos State Government that a framework for the valuation had already been adopted by parties involved.

Amadi had stated in the statement that the commission desires to know who owns what assets in the distribution network.

He said: "The National Economic Council had earlier directed NERC to undertake an inventory of all electricity distribution assets associated with local distribution networks. The study has been concluded. This was done to ascertain the post privatisation structure of the PHNC successor companies."

It further explained that the Federal Government had allocated 40 per cent of the shares of these legacy companies to states within the distribution zones and workers of the companies and that these shares are expected to be based on the value of the assets as determined by NERC.

Amadi also noted that there would be a framework for investors to pay for these subsequent assets, adding that he appreciated the painstaking processes put in and that if areas of dispute were thrown up, a tripartite meeting with NERC would be convened to resolve the issues.

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