Reps summon ministers, others over planned sale of power plants

The House of Representatives has summoned Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning; Abubakar Aliyu, the minister of power; Alex Okoh, the director general, Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE); Joseph Ugbo, the managing director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and Nnaemeka Ewelukwa, the managing director of Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) over the planned sale of five power plants in the country.

The concerned power plants are the Calabar (Cross River State), Ihorbor (Edo State), Olorunsigbo, Omotosho and Geregu (Kogi) power plants.

James Faleke, the chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Finance issued the summon in separate letters to the ministries and agencies.

Faleke said the process initiated for the sale of the power plants was unconstitutional and a disservice to the nation’s development and sharing equity among the three tiers of government.
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The letters read in part: “the House of Representatives has observed with grave concern the proposed sale of the 5 National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) namely Benin Generation Company Limited, Calabar Generation Company Limited, Geregu Generation Company Limited, Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited and Omotoso Generation Company Limited by the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) without due regard to constitutional principles and economic policy that informed the establishment of those power plants.

“The committee decried the proposed sale as unconstitutional and a disservice to all known principles of national development and the sharing equity among the three tiers of government.

“Considering the critical role your agency is playing in sustainable energy sector in the country, you are please requested to stop all further processes regarding this transaction and to submit the following information for the committee’s determination of the way forward”.

The committee is demanding from the NBET, a breakdown of the capacity and monthly income of all the power plants, a full disclosure of all the power plants that have taken or pay agreements as well as electricity consumed and not consumed from inception.

The panel is also requesting for information on all agreements with the power plants on take or pay basis, approvals needed by the NBET board, the Federal Executive Council, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, BPE with regard to the take or pay basis and copy of the power purchase agreement to the NDPHC already earmarked for sale by the BPE.

The lawmakers are asking for data on each of the power plants earmarked for sale including the capacity of each plant, staff strength and remuneration from the NDPHC as well as a comprehensive revenue and expenditure profile of each plant since inception.

The NDPHC is to further provide evidence of compliance with relevant extant procurement and BPE Act, details of agreement between Calabar power plant and Seven energy limited in addition to Federal Executive Council, Bureau for Public Procurement appraisal as well as the Attorney General’s advice on the subject.

The ministry of finance is to supply a copy of the legal advice from the Attorney General and minister of justice issued in respect of the sovereign guarantee on behalf of the Federal government to Seven energy limited for gas supply to Calabar power generation company limited, a copy of the Federal Executive Council memo and the approval to NBET on the said transaction.

The ministry is to also provide the breakdown of payments it made on behalf of the NDPHC to Seven energy Limited since the signing of the agreement and repayment so far.

The BPE is expected to provide the House with “a list of the power plants earmarked for sale; proposed time frame for the privatization exercise; Technical Adviser appointed for the exercise and process for hiring their services; bid processes and criteria for selection disclosing the list of qualified bidders an their profile in the power sector.”

The ministry of power is to provide “a copy of the Federal Executive Council memo/approval for the sum of N701 billion paid to Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC for the power plants and a breakdown of the monthly payment approved by your ministry to Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC for the power plants.”

The House frowned at the planned sale of the power plants which it said did not follow due process against the economic policy for which they were established.

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