BY Samuel Akpan
The house of representatives has commenced an investigation into the planned sale of five National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
In a letter cited by TheCable, the house committee on finance asked the minister of finance, minister of power, director-general of BPE, managing director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), and the managing director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), to provide information and documents “for the committees’ determination on the way forward”.
On July 7, Alex Okoh, BPE, said the federal government had pre-qualified 16 firms for the privatisation of the five NIPPs.
On Thursday, the lower legislative chamber asked the BPE to halt the sale of five power plants belonging to the NDPHC.
The resolution of the house was sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Magaji Aliyu, chairman of the house of representatives committee on power.
Magaji had said BPE advertised a request for expression of interest to purchase the power plants, despite that the assets belonged to the three tiers of government.
According to him, the federal government is bent on selling the assets to fund the deficit in the budget without the consent of the other tiers of government and other shareholders.
The committee, in the letter, addressed to the head of agencies and signed by James Faleke, its chairman, said all the transaction processes for the sale of the power plants should be stopped immediately.
“House of representatives has observed with grave concern the proposed sale of the five 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 letter reads.
“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 the 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 information being requested by the committee includes 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 paid agreements as well as electricity consumed and not consumed from inception.
It also includes 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 also required to provide evidence of compliance with relevant extant procurement of the BPE Act.
The letter added that the minister of power is expected 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”.