• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Reps ask TCN to justify $33m monthly expenditure amid poor power supply

Reps step down bill to alter educational qualifications for President

The House of Representatives, on Monday, summoned Sule Abdulaziz, managing director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), to explain why poor supply persists despite a $33 million monthly payment to Azura power plant for power generation.

James Faleke, chairman of the House committee on finance, investigating the proposed sale of the National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP) by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), said TCN was part of the probe because of its involvement in the power supply matrix.

While Abdulaziz is to appear on Tuesday to explain the ugly situation, the lawmakers said they will hire a consultant to interpret the documents tendered by officials of the company.

The investigation into the planned sale of NIPP by BPP is aimed at addressing the alleged breaches of the agreement and perennial power failure in the country.

Victor Adewumi, the TCN executive director, transmission service provider who appeared before the committee, said Azura, which is located in Edo State, was structured to produce 450 megawatts of electricity.

Adewumi said Azura had historically produced “accumulatively 1,755.9 megawatts. About 450 megawatts is expected to be generated at any time. If Azura is on, it should be giving us 460 megawatts.”

Also speaking, Edmond Eje, TCN director of market operator, said the company has been living up to its mandate by constantly evacuating power whenever the company generates.

Eje said: “I think within the month they have given 450 megawatts during the time we had low water. They have been tasking themselves to produce and TCN has been evacuating them having signed an evacuation agreement.”

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But in his reaction, James Faleke, the committee’s chairman countered the TCN representative that the epileptic power supply was a violation of the agreement signed with Azura.

Falake said what was contained in the documents provided was 1.7 kilowatts as against the 2 kilowatts presented by the team, lamenting that the inability of Nigerians to set up industries resulted from unavailability of electricity.

He said: “Nigerians are willing to set up industries. But there is no power. Yet they have paid huge sums of money. This is just an issue; not witch-hunting. It is not about TCN but Nigeria.

“So, all the questions I have for TCN, I will have to reserve them for your MD. There are questions that this committee will like to ask when the MD is seated. Whatever position we find ourselves in, we are just opportune among 200 million Nigerians.”

Speaking further on the impropriety of the deal contract with Azura without commensurate power generation, Faleke said, “The issue of $33m is just for one power company. Why the House has an interest in this, TCN, is because we have concessioned other power stations.

“Egbin power station is the largest with 1,320 megawatts. It is private. We did not sign a take-or-pay contract with them. This is where I am going. If we have Egbin power station that is generating the highest into the national grid – 1,320, and we also have Transcorp with about 650 megawatts and we did not sign take-or-pay with Transcorp.

“I am sure we have others, what we are trying to bring out is what is so special about Azura. Not only that it is special, but just two or three people sat down and committed Nigerians to it. We will get there.”

Taiwo Oluga, a member of the committee from Osun State also raised the issue of why $33 million should be paid monthly to the company without getting power supply.

“The representative of the chief executive, I will want to put it to you that with this document, you are confusing the House. If it is your document and we are arguing on it, whether it is megawatts or it is in kilowatts, an agreement has been signed on behalf of Nigerians in megawatts. Now you are presenting documents to the House in kilowatts/hour.

“So, Mr Chairman, I will want to say that maybe these documents, they should re-present while we expect the chief executive to come and explain to Nigerians why $33m will be paid (to Azura) every month, yet we are not getting results – we are not getting power, and that is the root of all the problems in Nigeria as of today. And I want to say in developed countries, can we go into such an agreement and on behalf of Nigerians without signing it. Even while signing it, we are not getting the power that is signed for”, she said.

Sha’abba Ibrahim, another member of the panel from Kogi State moved that the TCN representatives should go and put facts together before making further presentations to the parliament.

Ibrahim said: “To avoid this fluidity and roaming whenever people come in here for this investigative hearing, I want to suggest that, first, they should adopt their documents so that we can hold them to account. Mr Chairman, I am more confused than when I came in here – more confused now.

“I really don’t understand the language in which this presentation is denominated. So, I fully support the idea that they have to go back and rethink what they are doing so that we can have a more informed session when next we come here.”