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Electricity consumers’ group kicks against proposed sale of five power projects

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AN electricity consumers’ group has expressed concerns over the proposed sale of five Nigeria National Integrated Power (NIPP) plants by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

The group, the Nigeria Consumer Protection Network (NCPN), described the proposed sale as “a threat to national security.”

The NCPN president, Kunle Kola Olubiyo, said in Abuja on Sunday, August 28, 2022, that the BPE’s proposal was “a miscalculated action” with serious security implications for Nigeria.

The network’s position came ahead of the scheduled inquiry of the Special House of Representatives this week into the proposed sale of the five NIPP plants as proposed by the BPE.

Olubiyo, a member of both the National Technical Investigative Panel on Power System Collapses/System Stability and Reliability in June 2013 and Presidential Ad-hoc Committee on Review of Electricity Tariff in Nigeria in August 2020, argued that the ongoing process by the BPE to privatise the plants under the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) was not in Nigeria’s interest.

“NCPN notes that, at this point, any such action is self-serving and, at the very best, a chronic form of national assets-stripping coming at a time when the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is already on the verge of completing its tenure.

“The BPE had recently pre-qualified 16 firms for the privatisation of five National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) in the country,” he said.

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Disclosing that the NCPN had seen records of firms described as the bidders for the Geregu, Omotosho, Olorunsogo, Calabar and Benin-Ihovbor NIPP plants, Olubiyo pointed out that some of the firms had hardly any experience in the business of power generation.

He feared Nigeria could be plunged into darkness if the NIPP generating companies (GenCos) were sold off and the entire power sector upstream left at the whims and caprices of wholly private sector investors.

He advised the BPE to optimize the GenCos for Nigerians to make the best use of the power sector intervention.

He noted that the NIPP interventions, which cut across the power sector value chain and are being implemented by the NDPHC, required the evaluation of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to determine their real value.

 

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Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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