23 June 2015, Lagos – The Federal Government has been warned not to take over the management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, as the management contract with Manitoba Hydro International expires next month. A former Minister of Power, and Chief Executive Officer, Geometric Power Limited, Prof. Bart Nnaji.
He said that interferences from government affected the work of the Manitoba personnel. “The TCN should never go back to government management. Government ownership, yes, but not government control. It is not a good idea. Private sector proper management? Maybe, but concessioning of segments of TCN, yes; that’s better.
“I believe that the private sector management was never allowed to work. That’s part of the problem. The people who were brought to manage had to endure interferences from the government appointed officials. So that is an issue.” The Federal Government had in 2012 signed a three-year contract for the management of the TCN with the Canadian firm, Manitoba, after it emerged the sole bidder. The contract has an option of a two-year extension.
The TCN is in charge of the transmission network, a critical link in the electricity value chain, but remains a weak link with a current wheeling capacity of about 4,800 megawatts, according to industry experts. The company was left out of the process that saw the successor generation and distribution companies unbundled from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, which was handed over to private investors in 2013.
According to Nnaji, “What should happen is that perhaps a short-term extension can be allowed or a concession, but not to go back to government management.” He stressed the need for the new government to have an effective way of ensuring that the country does not go back and forth in terms of power supply.
“That the power that we have now can be sustainable and that we continue to grow it, which means that key issues of generation must be assured; that evacuation of the power must be there. And it requires that the government will put people who are absolutely thinking about the nation, not just in the Ministry of Power, but also in the other ministries. People who will work together to deliver,” he said.