Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Multilateral funding windows currently available and used by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to upgrade existing, as well as build new electricity transmission networks are now about $1.364 billion, the company’s former acting Managing Director, Dr. Abubakar Atiku has said.
Atiku, who the Federal Government last Friday failed to confirm as the substantive Managing Director of the TCN, told reporters at a recent press briefing in Abuja that the multilateral funding mix were from the World Bank, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Agence Française de Développement (AFD)/French Development Agency, Eurobond, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
His replacement with Usman Gur Mohammed by the government as the head of TCN may however lead to an industrial action by workers of the TCN who through their two labour unions – the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC), opposed the decision of the government and threatened to fight back. Speaking at the briefing before his removal, Atiku said the multilateral funding mix included $130 million from the Eurobond, $170 million from AFD, $200 million from JICA, as well as $200 million from AfDB and $664 million from the World Bank.
He said the World Bank’s funding were though divided into $300 million which the TCN has almost exhausted and another $364 million being expected. The AfDB loan, he noted included $150 million which TCN has used 70 per cent of it and another $50 million it has also used 10 per cent of. For the JICA’s $200 million, Atiku said the TCN would begin to access it in 2018, while it has spent 70 per cent of the $130 million funding from the Eurobond.
According to him, the TCN would from the multilateral finance window, fund some transmission projects in 2017. Some of the projects, he noted are located in Afam Rivers State, Daura in Katsina State, Kafanchan in Kaduna, Maiduguri in Borno, Osogbo in Osun, as well as Damaturu in Yobe, amongst others. He explained that when the projects are completed by the end of 2017, the TCN would have been able to increase its wheeling capacity to 7,200 megawatts (MW).
“In order to complement the federal government funding of our projects, a framework for contractor financing had been approved for rollout in 2017. A pilot scheme of $200 million is expected to be advertised for interested investors towards reinforcement and refurbishing of our existing lines and substations.
“In addition, some concessionary multinational loans and grants are being accessed by TCN which had contributed to the completion of our projects as well as those targeted for completion in 2017 and beyond. The funding windows have been provided by the World Bank, Eurobond, AfDB, AFD and JICA,” said Atiku. Meanwhile, state chapter leaders NUEE and SSAEAC have stated that they would meet with their national leadership to determine the appropriate response to the government on its appointment of Mohammed as TCN’s new head.
NUEE’s FCT chapter chairman, Wisdom Nwachukwu said the unions were against the appointment of Mohammed on both professional and ethical grounds. He said Mohammed as a former junior cadre employee of the TCN and an accountant was not qualified to head the TCN. On the possibility of an industrial action which could affect public electricity supply in the country, Nwachukwu stated that the chapter would wait for a meeting of the national leadership on which a decision on next line of action would be made. The unions, he added, have however written to the government asking for a dialogue on the development.