16 February 2013

Nigeria: Electricity Delivery - FG Threatens to Deal With Saboteurs

The Federal Government has again disclosed its zero tolerance for covert and overt interests bent on sabotaging its programmes in Nigeria's power sector reform exercise.

The government, which has for the umpteenth time declared its tough stance against such interests said Friday in Abuja that it will not hesitate to railroad attempts to subvert the smooth transition of systems in Nigeria's Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) in line with its ongoing privatisation of successor companies created off the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo said at a two-day technical session on review of milestones in the road-map for the country's power sector reform exercise organised by the Presidential Task Force on Power (PTFP) that the government has taken this renewed stance to instil greater discipline in operations within the NESI.

Nebo said in his remarks: "I want to believe that it is due to decades of neglect and un-sustained infrastructural investment and reform of the sector that brought us to where we were before the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan. The power sector development is ongoing, but will take time, money and more importantly the support of all Nigerians to see to the conclusion of the sector reform.

"In this regard, I have observed with grave concern the increasing frequency in system collapses of our grid and hereby encourage the operatives of this segment in the TCN (Transmission Company of Nigeria) to be extra diligent and vigilant. I shall not entertain frivolous reasons for continued system collapses. Owners of this process must sit up or be prepared to ship out."

While the minister admonished the TCN to sit-up in its operations within the sector, the government's position on the operational status of the $23.7 million three years management contract which it signed with Canadian firm, Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) to amongst other objectives reposition the TCN for its role in Nigeria's emerging power sector is however still unknown.

The management contract has for a while remained in limbo following government's reluctance to issue to MHI an expected "schedule of delegated authority" with which it will employ in transforming TCN into a technically, financially efficient, stable, and sustainable transmission company.

Nebo also pointed out that the government will immediately bring down its weight on officials of successor PHCN distribution companies found to be sabotaging revenue collection rates and processes in NESI's transition stage, adding that such practices amount to extra liabilities to the government.

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