Manitoba frustrated over TCN management

Kunle Kalejaye

06 November 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – THE management contractor for the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Manitoba Hydro International of Canada, has expressed regrets over the challenges which contributed to the delays in its takeover of the operations of the company.

Chief Executive Officer of Manitoba Hydro, Mr. Don Priestman, who spoke with journalists on the sidelines of the 7th General Assembly of the West Africa Power Pool, WAPP, in Abuja, said that they were still waiting for the federal government to put in place the schedule for delegated authority.

According to Priestman, the first month, August, was a transition month and according to the contract, starting September 1, 2012 the schedule of delegated authority should have been issued, which would have given Manitoba full authority to run the TCN.

“But that has not happened. It is unfortunate; I think you will have to ask the authorities why not. We are ready and keen to proceed. We have the people and resources here to do the work and we know what to do. Note that we have done something similar in other countries with great success.

“So, we hope there won’t be much more delay before we can start doing what we came here to do. We have been working with our counterparts, we have been getting to know all of the players. We now understand all of the issues much better and there are many, many challenges so it hasn’t been entirely wasted time that’s for sure. However, we came here to do a job and its difficult to do a job when you are not in charge,” he stated.

“Right now we are working closely with the government and we are observing. We are making suggestions but we are not in control. We have been working closely with the government but we want to get a different paradigm in terms of running the company.

“We want to start working longer term. We want to get the government support so we can have better funding rather than worrying where the next amount of money is going to come from. The market funds that we have right now have to serve all of the players in the power sector. There is not very much money coming in. There is a lot of demand on that fund so it’s a challenge,” he said.

Priestman stressed that the TCN as presently constituted was beset with a lot of challenges, notably that of insolvency and poor maintenance of infrastructure.

According to him, “TCN is insolvent. So the whole approach to running the company is going to have to change fundamentally”.

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  • This is precisely the kind of situation we had called attention to. Government has shown a clear lack of political will to get the privatisation of entities of the PHCN to closure in a timely and tidy manner for reasons that are obviously tied around bureaucracy, lack of political will and brazen corruption. We urge the government to stop fooling around and enable Manitoba perform the work for which it was contracted, while ensuring that the privatisation of the PHCN gathers the much needed traction.