Suspend N309bn Bond in Power Sector Now, Senate Orders FG, NERC

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• Six arrested in N’Assembly for fuel theft
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senate yesterday asked the federal government to forthwith halt its plan to secure N309 billion bond to finance the shortfall in the power sector until the outcome of its ongoing investigation into issues revolving around the bond.

The order followed the adoption of a motion by Senator Mustapha Bukar (Katsina North), during which the Senate directed the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the move by Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) to raise such bond.

The Senate also mandated its Joint Committee on Power and Privatisation  to probe the post-privatisation performance of all distribution companies (Discos), generating companies (Gencos) and other stakeholders including the management and disbursement of loans or bonds of the agencies in the sector.

Bukar, had in his motion, said the proposed bond was being pursued despite a series of  intervention moves such as the bailout by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in March, 2015 to the tune of N213 billion through the Nigeria Electricity Sector Intervention (NESI).

He also argued that issuance of bond this season would imply unnecessarily pampering power sector players despite their known poor performance, adding that the move would also affect the Federal Government Sovereign Guarantee and consequently lead to national energy crisis in the future.

Bukar added that the shortfall in the sector to the tune of N15 billion per month was equivalent to N500 million loss daily, explaining that the total shortfall as at December 31, 2015 stood at N400 billion.

“Continued incidence of market shortfall is a disincentive for new investors to venture their Nigerian electricity market. This implies that the projected generating capacity is an illusion. As a matter of fact, any increment in generating capacity would further aggravate and escalate the market shortfall,” he stated.

Meanwhile, six persons  were arrested in the National Assembly complex yesterday after they were caught stealing a large quantity of diesel belonging to the  Estate and Works Department of the National Assembly.
While two of the culprits were staff of the National Assembly, the other four were non-staff. While the suspects were caught in the act, one of them escaped.

It was learnt that the the theft was masterminded by National Assembly staff among the suspects in connivance with members of their gang  outside the National Assembly.
THISDAY learnt that the the suspects had arrived the premises of the National Assembly  in a Volkswagen Golf car at about 4.20 am and stormed the storage to scoop diesel into  jerry cans before luck ran out on them.