The Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) has applauded the Federal Government’s decision has over the management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), following the completion of a four-year management contract by Manitoba Hydro International (MHI), Canadian power firm.
The union commended the Federal Government for conceding to its counsel which it gave in a letter to the President and Commander-in-Chief of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, dated 26 May, 2016.
It will be recalled that MHI Management Contractors won the bid to manage TCN in April 2012, for an initial three-year period, subject to renewal. The contract was signed on June 16, 2012, while MHI commenced work on 1 July, 2012.
The three-year contract expired in 2015 and was renewed in a controversial circumstance for another one year up to the end of July, 2016. It was believed that Manitoba deceived the new government to get the last extension and fought very hard for another but for SSAEAC’s petition to the President.
In a press statement issued in Lagos, the SSAEAC President-General, Comrade (Engr) Chris Okonkwo (FNSE) and the Secretary-General, Comrade (Barr) Umar Dubagari expressed their satisfaction because the government heeded the union’s advice not to renew the MHI’s management contract.
‘‘We commend the Federal Government for its decision not to renew the foreign management contract. It is a step in the right direction. It is our considered opinion that the Nigerian counterparts who worked closely with the eight-man MHI team during its four-year contract period and who now constitute the new management team, are well equipped to properly administer the affairs of the company,” the statement said.
Besides, the union proposed that the new management team can be reconstituted to ensure that professionals without “baggage” administered the hub of the power sector. This is acknowledgement of the fact that some Nigerians in the team have questionable background and intentions.
The union further advised the government not to think of privatisation of TCN, as some self-seeking and portfolio carrying business men and women have started campaigning.
“This is because the mistake of privatization of Generation and Distribution parts of the power sector is getting worse. Instead, the union advised government to look into many reasons militating against TCN which includes poor payment for services rendered to distribution companies and poor budgetary provisions for expansion projects,” it stated.
The TCN is in charge of the transmission network, a critical link in the electricity value chain, but blackmailed as the weak link by those who want to hold Nigeria to ransom. Meanwhile, TCN wheeling capacity of 6000MW is yet to be matched by generation companies.
TCN 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.