Forces Working Against Power Sector Reform, Says Manitoba; Contract cancellation’ll affect confidence –NSE

0
221

Canadian
firm, Manitoba Hydro, whose $24m management contract for the Transmission
Company of Nigeria, TCN, was cancelled on Tuesday by President Goodluck
Jonathan, said yesterday that some forces were working against the
administration’s power sector reform programme.
The
company spoke just as the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, expressed fears
that the cancellation could send negative signals about the reforms and erode
the confidence in the power sector and Nigeria in general.

“We
had a clear contract and we were meant to be given delegation of authority …
but that didn’t happen,” Don Priestman, the head of the Manitoba-run TCN told
Reuters on phone.

“There
are forces working against the reform,” he added, saying a similar contract
Manitoba had in Kenya was working well.
Both
the Ministry of Power and the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, declined to
comment on the matter when contacted by National Mirror yesterday.
NSE
President, Mr. Balarabe Shehu, said that the implication of such decisions was
far- reaching, saying it might engender loss of confidence in the industry.
Shehu,
who spoke at the NSE Maitama branch’s Second Engineering Week yesterday in
Abuja, noted that there was nothing wrong in cancelling what was found to be
fundamentally wrong.
He,
however, warned that steps should be taken to ensure that appropriate penalties
were meted out to persons who created the anomaly.
“I
just learnt with dismay this morning that the management contract of TCN
Manitoba has been cancelled.
“If
something is fundamentally wrong, it has to be cancelled but then what happens
to the person that did that thing wrong?
“I
think things are being done wrong repeatedly because nothing is being done
about it.
“If
people are penalised for what they do, the next person will not do it. And also
the implication of such decisions is far-reaching because there will be loss of
confidence in the country, and in the industry, that is our concern,” he said.
The
NSE boss, who decried government’s penchant in changing leadership in the power
sector, noted that the exercise did not encourage continuity and progress in
the industry.
He
likened power sector to a laboratory where experiments are being carried out,
stressing that the sector remains the only industry where anybody could be sent
to lead, no matter the qualifications or experience.
“The
power industry as we see it today has become a laboratory where so many
experiments are being carried out, so many trials and errors.
“I
think the industry should not be subjected to such kind of experiment,” he
added.
Shehu
insisted that Nigerian engineers were not afraid of privatisation and called
for sincerity and transparency in the process. “Once it is not sincere and
credible, things like these would be happening and the country will remain
standstill.”
He
said that NSE was always ready and willing to partner with the government and
contribute in solving the problems of the power sector.
But
the Presidency said President Jonathan annulled the deal because “due process
was not followed in the award of the contract.”
Also
speaking, General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees,
(NUEE), Mr. Joe Ajaero, told National Mirror that President Jonathan has to
immediately implement the decision of the National Assembly on not just the
termination of agreement with Manitoba contract but every other transaction the
Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, has engaged in.
Ajaero,
who is also the Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, said also
that the BPE should be stopped from the sale of more of government properties
or assets
According
to him, the termination of the management contract with government is the right
thing to do, because the privatisation process is a rip off of Nigerians.
He
said that the whole exercise of privatisation, is a ruse, and lacking
integrity, while also calling for a review of the process from the beginning.
Manitoba
Hydro International had been selected by the National Council on Privatisation
(NCP) to run TCN for three years, with the option to extend for another two
years following a competitive bidding processing involving technical and
financial proposals in which it defeated Power Grid of India.
The
deal was the first to be sealed under the ongoing power sector privatisation,
which began in 2007, but had come under severe criticism by workers unions and
officials of the Ministry of Power.
Presidency
sources said that the decision to cancel the contract was based on a memo sent
by the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, which for several weeks, had been
pushing for its cancellation on the premise that it did not pass through due
process as provided under the Public Procurement Act.
The
Director General of the BPP, Mr. Emeka Eze, was said to have kicked against the
appointment of Manitoba because of certain irregularities had been noticed in
the process that led to the company’s selection.
Eze,
in his memo, had informed the president that a management contract was distinct
from a privatisation transaction or concession, and since the procurement of all
Federal Government contracts, including those covering professional services
are covered by the Public Procurement Act; the BPE should not have
superintended the selection process.
The
source said the BPP DG picked holes in the contract, querying why the
designated managing director was 57 years old, which he felt was too old,
insisting that the contract be cancelled because the BPE had misled the NCP by
procuring the management contractor.
Eze
was also said to have insisted that if the BPP had overseen the procurement of
the contractor, it is the Federal Executive Council, FEC, that should have
approved the selection of Manitoba based on the BPP’s recommendation.
Source:
National Mirror

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.