Electricity workers call for probe of TCN’s ‘underperformance’ under Manitoba

TCNOscarline Onwuemenyi  24 August 2016, Sweetcrude. Abuja – The Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies,  SSAEAC, has urged the Federal Government to probe the “poor management and underperformance” of the Transition Company of Nigeria, TCN, under Manitoba.

The association, which alleged that corruption in the appointment of Canadian energy firm, Manitoba Hydro International, MHINL, to manage the Transition Company of Nigeria, TCN, alleged that there was no improvement in power transmission during Manitoba’s four years of managing the TCN.

Rather than make the desired progress, SSAEAC said corruption and politicisation of the power sector had compounded the operational processes of TCN under Manitoba.

According to SSAEAC President, Mr. Chris Okonkwo, in an interview, there was no significant improvement in power since MHINL took charge four years ago.

“A look at the calibre and number of staff of MHINL evokes crass disdain for the quality of Nigerian professionals in TCN, who are subjected to men and women who are mediocre in the core business of TCN, and who use the Nigerians to do the little that is recorded as success of the contract, with outrageously high fees paid to the MHINL for little or no work done,” Okonkwo stated.

Describing the contract that brought in Manitoba as political, the SSAEAC president alleged that from inception till date, Manitoba exploited the weakness in the system, adding that, “they are morally and ethically bankrupt and should be investigated if the current war against corruption will have a meaning.”

He warned the Federal Government against another extension of the Manitoba contract, which was being pushed for by MHINL, saying it would lead to industrial action from workers.

According to him, it was necessary for the Federal Government to look inwards by sourcing local contractors and professionals in the sector.

But he lamented that most of the firms, who bid for stakes in the power sector were insincere about their ability to inject funds into the sector, querying: “When will government open its eyes to see that the investors today are not real investors?”

Okonkwo stated that the investors, who should have brought in investment and engaged technical partners, turned out to be hiring them temporarily for the bidding purpose, which was why the so-called investors were left to do a business they knew nothing about.

The Federal Government earlier this month terminated its contract with Manitoba Hydro International, which focuses on transmitting electricity and natural gas to utility companies, as the governments refused to renew the contract, after it expired on July 31, forcing Manitoba to hand over management of TCN back to the government.

Manitoba signed a three-year contract with the Federal Government in 2012 to manage TCN, which is the sole power transmission firm in the country and is owned by the government. The contract was then extended by one year in July 2015.

No official statement about the Federal Government’s refusal to renew the contract with Manitoba, but in June the House of Representatives intended to probe the firm over reports of poor performance and claims that the firm’s expatriate management was taking outrageous sums of money for salaries by inflating the exchange rate. The probe has, however, not yet materialised.

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