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$33m monthly expenditure: House summons TCN over poor power supply

TCN, grid

By Tom Okpe, Abuja

The House of Representatives has summoned Sule Abdulaziz, Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) over poor power supply in the country despite the $33 million paid monthly to Azura power plant for generation.

While Abdulaziz is to appear on Tuesday to give explanation for the ugly situation of power supply in the country, the lawmakers said they will hire a consultant to interpret the documents tendered by officials of the company.

This decision was taken at the House Committee on Finance Public Hearing on Monday at the resumed investigative hearing on the proposed sale of the National Integrated Power Plant, (NIPP) by the Bureau of Public Procurement, (BPP) with the aim to addressing alleged breaches of agreement and perennial power failure in the country.

Victor Adewumi, TCN Executive Director, Transmission Service provider who appeared before the committee said, Azura which is located in Edo State was structured to produce 450 megawatts of electricity.

Adewumi said Azura had historically produced accumulatively 1,755.9 megawatts pointing that the 450 mega watts is expected to be generated anytime, Azura is on.

Also speaking, Edmond Eje, TCN Director, Market Operator said the company has been living up to its mandate by constantly evacuating power, whenever the company generates.

Eje said: “I think within the month they have been giving 450 during the time we had low water. They have been tasking themselves to produce and TCN has been evacuating them, having signed evacuation agreement.”

But in his reaction, James Faleke, the committee’s chairman countered the TCN representative that the epileptic power supply was a violation of the agreement signed with Azura.

Falake said what was contained in the documents provided was 1.7 kilowatts as against the 2 kilowatts presented by the team, lamenting that the inability of Nigerians to set up industries resulted from unavailability of electricity.

He said: “Nigerians are willing to set up industries. But there is no power, yet they have paid huge sums of money. This is just an issue; not witch-hunting. It is not about TCN but Nigeria.

“So, all the questions I have for TCN, I will reserve it for your MD. There are questions that this committee would like to ask when the MD is seated. Whatever position we find ourselves, we are just opportuned among 200 million Nigerians.”

Speaking further on the impropriety of the contract with Azura without commensurate power generation, Faleke said: “The issue of $33m is just for one power company. Why the House has interest is that, TCN has concessions other power stations.

“Egbin power station is the largest with 1,320 megawatts. It is private. We did not sign, take or-pay with them.

“I am sure we have others, what we are trying to bring out is that; what is so special about Azura? Not only that it is special, just two or three people sat down and committed Nigerians to it. We will get there.”

Taiwo Oluga, a member of the committee from Osun State also raised issue with why $33 million should be paid monthly to the company without getting power supply.

“The representative of the chief executive, I put it to you that this document, you are confusing the House. If it is your document and we are arguing on, whether it is megawatts or it is in kilowatts, and agreement has been signed on behalf of Nigerians in megawatts. Now you are presenting documents to the House in kilowatts/hour.

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“So, Mr Chairman, I will want to say that maybe these documents should be re-presented while we expect the chief executive to come and explain to Nigerians why $33m will be paid (to Azura) every month, yet we are not getting results; we are not getting power, and that is the root of all the problems in Nigeria as of today.”

Sha’abba Ibrahim, another member of the panel from Kogi State moved that the TCN representatives should go and put facts together before making further presentations to the Parliament.

Ibrahim said: “To avoid this fluidity and roaming whenever people come in here for this investigative hearing, I want to suggest that, first, they should adopt their documents so that we can hold them to account. Mr Chairman, I am more confused than when I came in here.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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