Power reform: Reps move to ease electricity contracts from Public Procurement Act

• as Electric Power Sector Reform bill through Second Reading • Approve Rural Electrification & Renewable Energy Agency, National Power Training Institute

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed through second reading, a bill that seeks to exclude the application of Public Procurement Act to contracts in the power sector.

The lawmakers also approved the provisions for the establishment of the Rural Electrification & Renewable Energy Agency and the National Power Training Institute.

The 36 clauses adopted at the Committee of the Whole, are: sections 1, 8, 10(4), 24, 26, 27, 32, 33, 34, 37, 43, 44, 49, 50, 57, 61, 67, 68, 71, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, Part IX, 94, 95, 97 and 98, respectively.

In his lead debate, Chairman, House Committee on Power, Hon. Aliyu Magaji, who observed that the Electric Power Sector Reform Act was enacted as far back as 2005 as a consolidated legal framework that regulates the power sector in Nigeria, frowned at the delay in amending the law for about one and a half-decade, until the emergence of various challenges that affect the efficiency, corporate stability and prospects of the power sector.

According to him, the proposal was supported by inputs from stakeholders which include the Federal Ministry of Power, Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Power Generation Companies in Nigeria, Association of Nigeria Electricity Distribution and National Power Training Institute of Nigeria.

The House amended section 24 by inserting a new subsection (2A) which request stakeholders input in the Commission’s report to the Minister on prospect of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry in the privatisation era and added a new section ‘24A’ which lists agencies under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry responsible for power.

The lawmakers also amended section 26 of the Principal Act to make Nigerian electricity supply industry more competitive in the post-privatisation era.

The House also amended section 67 with a view to enhancing the conditions that regulate the application of distribution license., as well as section 68 to exclude the application of Public Procurement Act to contracts made under this section, and amended section 71 to enhance the terms for the grant and operation of license.

The lawmakers also adopted the recommendations in section 74 for cancellation of license and section 75 which deals with enforcement of license, as well as section 76 which deals with regulation of tariffs.

While Section 77 provides for enhancement of special provisions relating to generation, transmission and distribution companies, while section 78 deals with the use of certain conduits for electricity purposes.

Section 79 also provides for the expansion of scope of notice of construction of railways, roads and telecommunication works and control of other works, and inserted a new clause ‘79A’ to redefine the scope of rights and privileges of a licensee to maintain or construct electric lines or other electrical instruments on the right of way.

Clause 32 inserts a new clause ‘94A’ after the existing section 94 to provide stiffer penalties for crimes committed against electrical infrastructure.

Clause 16 amends section 57 to increase penalty from N20,000 to N50,000 against any commissioner, agent or employee of the commission for failure to comply with audit request of producing any document or record of accounts.

The lawmakers also introduced a new clause ‘79A’ to redefine the scope of rights and privileges of a licensee to maintain or construct electric lines or other electrical instruments on the right of way, while section 80 expands the scope of consumer protection standards.

The House also introduced a new clause ‘94A’, after the existing section 94 to provide stiffer penalties for crimes committed against electrical infrastructure.

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