For Improved Electricity in Nigeria: Should A Canadian Firm Run The Power Transmission Company?Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 4:31 PM
By Adeola Adeyemo
The Nigerian power sector is faced with transmission problems, no doubt. Residents are grappling with the inadequate transmission capacity which is hurting the power sector deeply and is making many electricity-dependent activities in the country stagnant.
Achieving stable power supply is still a far-fetched dream in the country as the necessary management and infrastructure to handle power supply and its transmission is unavailable.
A Punch News report today states that a Canadian firm, Manitoba Hydro International, has demanded the sum of $23.72m (about N3.72bn) from the Federal Government to run the Transmission Company of Nigeria for three years.
“Manitoba, whose financial bid for the management of TCN, one of the successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, was opened on Tuesday, emerged the sole bidder since the second firm, Power Grid of India failed to meet the technical requirement.
The National Council on Privatisation chaired by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, had on March 26, 2012, approved that Manitoba be invited for simultaneous opening of its financial proposal and commencement of contract negotiations as the management contractor for TCN.
Speaking at the financial bid opening, the Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, asked the Canadian firm to review the management fee downwards.
Consequently, a six-man team was constituted to handle the negotiation with the prospective management contractors.
Nnaji said, “They are not going to get rid of TCN workers, but they will bring in a few people to work with the TCN people, and more importantly, they will bring their expertise.
“We anticipate that in the next one month, they will start. They will bring in speed, be able to anticipate issues and problems and address them proactively. This is what we don’t have in the public service.”
Bringing in a foreign company to handle power transmission issues has been received with mixed reactions. While some people such as the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Ms. Bolanle Onagoruwa, believe that the contract with the Canadian firm will “help reduce electricity losses during transmission; provide for the achievement of certain predetermined targets that will improve grid security and general performance; and have reward and penalty clauses as incentives for success,” others believe that it would lead to loss of jobs for Nigerians.
It is obvious that Nigerians have handled power transmission for many years and have failed woefully at it. For various reasons ranging from lack of adequate infrastructure to fraud to political and bureaucratic bottlenecks, power supply has never been stable or properly transmitted.
However, the situation has risen severally that when foreign firms are contracted to handle jobs previously undertaken by Nigerians, most of the citizens end up losing their jobs. That is the fear of most Nigerians. However, if this contract is awarded to the Canadian firm, would power supply and transmission improve?
What is your take?
News Source: Punch News