Vice President Namadi Sambo
There are indications that the Federal Government may not be in a hurry to constitute a supervisory board for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), the only government controlled company unbundled from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
THISDAY checks in Abuja revealed that up till date, the government was yet to make up its mind on the composition of a supervisory board which is supposed to come in and function side by side with the new management contractor for TCN, Manitoba Hydro International of Canada.
A source at the Presidency who spoke on condition of anonymity stated that several reasons such as the appointment of a substantive minister of power; on-going evaluation of terms and provisions in the management contract signed by Manitoba as well as a seeming unwillingness of the government to take up too much responsibilities at once in the on-going privatisation exercise might have led to the delay in constituting a supervisory board to oversee the jobs of Manitoba in TCN.
According to a document prepared for the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) by principal consultants to British Power International (BPI), Brian Wales and Geoff Stott and obtained by THISDAY on the role of a management contractor for TCN, the expected board is supposed to comprise five non-executive members, three executive members and the management contractor on invitation by the government.
The responsibility of the board will normally include; policy initiation and consent, review and ratification of procurement demands of the management contractor, supervision of the operations of the contractor in line with terms and provisions in the management contract as well as other forms of advisory roles it considers appropriate to undertake.
While confirming the development, the source said: “No, there is no board in place yet and it appears government is not in a hurry to constitute the board, at the moment, I want to believe that several issues such as the resignation of the former minister of power and appointment of a substantive minister is one of the reasons why the board has not even been selected yet.
“There are also other issues like background evaluation of the contract agreement; some aspects of it are been looked at for proper understanding by all and sundry and probably government’s diligent search for credible people that will make the board.
“The board will need to have people that can do the job Peterside Atedo is doing at the NCP because at the end of the day, it is the ability of the company to sustainably manage the grid system that will matter and in such case, technocrats that understands this processes are required to act as checks on the contractor.”
Asked if the delay in appointing the board is not a disadvantage to the power sector reform programme, the source said: “Well, at this moment, not yet because everything is still been ironed out but in the long run, yes because normally boards are supposed to supervise the management of a company and when there is no such supervision, things may just go wrong without any one to beat offenders back into line.”
BPE in July signed a three-year management contract with Manitoba to manage the operation of TCN. The Canadian firm had demanded $23.72m (about N3.72bn) to run the transmission company after it emerged the sole bidder in a competitive process that saw its financial bid opened on April 3; the second firm in the race, Power Grid of India, failed to meet the technical requirement.