Nigeria: House Moves to Ease Electricity Contracts From Procurement Act

24 September 2021

Abuja — The House of Representatives at the plenary yesterday passed for second reading a Bill which seeks to exclude the application of Public Procurement Act to contracts in the power sector. The Bill also seeks for the establishment of Rural Electrification & Renewable Energy Agency and National Power Training Institute.

The proposed legislation titled, "Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill," is sponsored by Chairman, House Committee on Power, Hon. Aliyu Magaji.

In his lead debate, Magaji, who observed that the Electric Power Sector Reform Act was enacted as far back as 2005 as a consolidated legal framework that regulates the power sector in Nigeria, bemoaned the delay in amending the law for about one and a half decade, until the emergence of various challenges that affect the efficiency.

corporate stability and prospects of the power sector.

According to him, the proposal was supported by inputs from stakeholders which include Federal Ministry of Power, Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Power Generation Companies in Nigeria, Association of Nigeria Electricity Distribution and National Power Training Institute of Nigeria.

He said the Bill seeks an amendment to section 67 with a view to enhance the conditions that regulate the application of distribution license, as well as section 68 to exclude the application of Public Procurement Act to contracts made under this section, section 71 to enhance the terms for the grant and operation of license.

He explained that the Bill further seeks to amend section 24 of the Act by inserting a new subsection (2A) which request stakeholders input in the Commission's report to the Minister on prospect of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry in the privatisation era and a new section '24A' which lists agencies under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry responsible for power.

The lawmaker also sought for amendment to section 26 of the Principal Act to make Nigerian electricity supply industry more competitive in the post privatisation era.

He said: "While Section 77 provides for enhancement of special provisions relating to generation, transmission and distribution companies, section 78 deals with use of certain conduits for electricity purposes. Section 79 also provides for the expansion of scope of notice of construction of railways, roads and telecommunication works and control of other works, and inserted a new clause '79A' to redefine the scope of rights and privileges of a licensee to maintain or construct electric lines or other electrical instruments on the right of way. Clause 32 inserts a new clause '94A' after the existing section 94 to provide stiffer penalties for crimes committed against electrical infrastructure. Clause 16 amends section 57 to increase penalty from N20,000 to N50,000 against any commissioner, agent or employee of the commission for failure to comply with audit request of producing any document or record of accounts."

When put to a voice vote by the Deputy Speaker, Hon Idris Wase who presided over the session, it got the support of majority of the lawmakers and was passed.

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