DAILY COURIER – The House of Representatives has asked the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to halt the sale of five power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company.
The power plants are located in Calabar (Cross River State), Ihorbor [Edo State], Olorunsogbo, Omotosho and Geregu.
The decision to halt the sales followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by the Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Magaji Aliyu (APC, Jigawa) on Thursday.
Moving the motion, Mr Aliyu said the power plants were constructed under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).
He stated that the National Council on Privatisation and Board of Directors of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) in collaboration with BPE have advertised a request for expression of interest to purchase the power plants.
Mr Aliyu explained that the assets belong to the three tiers of government with the federal government owning 47 per cent while states and local governments own 53 per cent.
He added that the federal government is adamant about selling the assets to fund the deficit in the budget without the consent of the other tiers of government and others.
“Federal government insists on proceeding with the sale of these assets despite the fact that the consent of the other shareholders; states and local governments have been granted,” he said.
He further explained that the federal government made a similar attempt in 2013 but that the process failed.
According to Mr Aliyu, the timing of the privatisation is not right in view of the economic situation around the world.
“Current timing of the privatisation — even if it is approved by the prospective shareholders— may not enable the greatest financial value due to current commercial and technical constraints in the industry associated with poor state of transmission and distribution capacity, underpayment /liquidity in the market aggravated by global economic recession which will make the assets to be sold at undervalue price and cause avoidable lost to the shareholders,” he said.
Speaking on the motion, Uzoma Abonta (PDP, Abia) urged the committees on power and privatisation to investigate issues surrounding the assets.
Consequently, the House cautioned the Director General BPE, Alex Okoh, to desist from any act that will facilitate the sales of the five power plants until duly authorised by the shareholders in a formal meeting as stipulated by the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020.
When the motion was passed after the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, who presided over the session, put it to vote.