Senate queries BPE over N1bn collected without appropriation

• As FG unveils plan to concession Tafawa Balewa Square, National Stadia, others

The Senate, on Thursday, queried the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), over the sum of N1 billion it collected from the Ministry of Finance without appropriation by the National Assembly.

The lawmakers kicked against the infraction when the Director-General of the BPE, Alex Okoh, appeared before the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation.

The Committee further demanded an investigation into the sale of Afam and Geregu Power as the money in question was released as a lifeline to finance Afam and Geregu power plants.

Senator representing Abia Central, Theodore Orji, disclosed that the Committee discovered that the BPE and its appointed technical advisers sold the power plants for the sum of N13 billion.

He said:” Our observations on the year 2019 BPE Budget performance and year 2020 Appropriation, the BPE DG obtained N1bn lifeline from Federal Ministry of Finance to finance BPE 2019 transactions including, Afam Power Plant, Geregu Power Plant etc without appropriation.

“We also found that in Geregu Power Plant, the Core investor already owned 51 per cent shares and that the transaction emanated from a request by the investor for additional 29 per cent of FGN residual 49 per cent shares.

“There was no competition and only BPE and their appointed transaction advisers know how the value was determined and sold for N13billion.

“Afam Power Plant, it was mentioned that there are actually two (2) different Power Plants i.e Afam Power Plant and Afam fast power (a brand new plant) built by Seimen yet to be commissioned. Reports have it that it cost about $1million USD to build a Megawatt of Power Plant.

“There is a need to investigate these transactions properly to ensure that Nigerians are not short-changed in the transactions.

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“We are also concerned with the recent exit of Transcorp Hilton from post-privatisation monitoring by National Council on Privatisation on the recommendation of BPE, knowing fully well that even though BPE was on the board because we had 49 per cent, today our shares have been diluted to 11 per cent failing to take up the shares when the right issue was done even though the core investor failed to comply with and implement its covenants with Post Acquisition Plan (PA) and development Plan within 5years.

“My submission, distinguished colleagues is that we ask the DG BPE to provide us with all copies of the Agreements, correspondences, Minutes of meetings; reports and NCP approvals to enable us to review them before we take any action in the National interest.”

The Director-General of BPE who promised to make available all the documents requested by the Committee further revealed that the federal government has concluded plans to concession the Tafawa Balewa Square, the National Arts Theatre and the stadia across the country.

Revealing details of the 2021 budget of Bureau of Public Enterprises submitted to the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, Mr Okoh said the Federal Government would also commercialise all the River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) and sell off Nigeria Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), Omotosho, Geregu and Calabar to core investors.





Senate queries BPE over N1bn collected without appropriation

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