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NGO urges FG to strengthen power transmission

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Electricity Pole. PHOTO:csiro.au

Electricity Pole. PHOTO:csiro.au

The Independent Energy Watch Initiative (I-WIN), an NGO, has urged the Federal Government to treat Nigerian transmission sub-sector with all seriousness.

This is contained in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja and signed by the I-WIN Head, Research and Development, Mr Ogbonna Onwumere.

I-WIN reiterated that in order to deliver the promise of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide power to Nigerians, Federal Government ought to treat Nigerian transmission sub-sector with all urgency.

“Full privatisation of the generation and distribution sub-sector of the power delivery system occurred on Nov. 1, 2013 leaving only the transmission subsector under the management and control of the government.

“ To ensure that Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) does not constitute a bottleneck in the delivery of the anticipated improved power supply, the Federal Government sought and acquired a management contract for TCN.

“ This supposedly was to boost performance and transfer skill and knowledge, “ he said.

Onwumere said that Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) won the bid that led to a three-year contract to assume the management responsibility and control of the TCN in 2012.

He said that the nature of the contract was such that MHI would improve processes within the duration of the contract and train the local staff in order to continue operations at the expiry of the contract.

He said that the MHI contract expired on the last working day of July 2016 after a one-year extension. MHI has since handed over to their Nigerian counterparts“ he said.

The I-WIN, therefore, urged the Federal Government to take stock of the management of TCN by MHI in a holistic and pragmatic manner regarding the objective of the contract vis-à-vis the outcome.

Onwumere said that on the assumption of the management duties, Nigerians were appointed as immediate deputies to the foreign managers under the MHI contract to understudy in order to assume control at the end of the contract.

“This was not to be due to the rancorous relationship between MHI and the Nigerian counterparts on one hand, and the labour unions within the sub-sector on the other hand.

“ These deputies were not appointed by MHI but rather imposed on them and could account for the sour relation between them.

“ Also, the frequent interference by government in the operations of TCN meant that the MHI did not have a free hand in the operations and management of TCN,’ he said.

“If Manitoba Hydro International did not leave the Transmission Company of Nigeria in a better performing state, then how can we expect TCN, the nerve centre of the power delivery system, to deliver the much anticipated improved power?

Onwumere called for taking stock of the MHI sojourn in the Nigerian power sector to ascertain if the four years of the contract had been a waste regarding value for money and the opportunity cost associated with the contract.

“Now that Manitoba Hydro International contract has come and gone, now that scarce resources have been utilised to pay for the services of MHI for four years, now that Nigeria has taken over the management of the TCN back from MHI.

“The question that is begging for an answer is that of value addition, ‘’ it added.


In this article:
I-WINMr Ogbonna Onwumere
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