July 21, 2024

FG sets to resolve electricity tariff shortfall, as Osinbajo inaugurates NELMCO’s board

Oredola Adeola

The Federal Government has inaugurated the board of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) in furtherance of its commitment to resolve electricity tariff shortfalls, including the liability affecting the distribution companies, and other challenges plaguing Nigeria’s power sector.

This was revealed in a statement released by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on  Sunday.

According to him, Prof. Osinbajo the new board of NELMCO virtually on Friday.

EnergyDay gathered that NELMCO is a product of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act 2005 (EPSRA), with a very specialized role to play, in ensuring the success of the Electricity Sector Reform.

Incorporated in 2006 as a limited liability company, the company which is one of the successor companies created under EPSRA was designated to assume responsibility for all of the PHCN liabilities leading up to the November 1, 2013 handover of the companies to private firms.

It has been running without a duly constituted board since the first one was inaugurated in 2013 and dissolved shortly after.

The Vice President during the inauguration said, “This marks an important milestone in the bid to resolve the liabilities relating to tariff shortfalls in the power sector (specifically for Distribution Companies), and to provide a veritable mechanism for managing the very dynamic nature of the liquidity challenges of the power sector in Nigeria.”

“This ceremony formally brings on board the invaluable skills and experience of notable and highly respected personalities as members of the Board of NELMCO.”

On the expectations for the new board, the Vice President told the members that, “as a board, you are expected to make conscious and deliberate efforts to develop appropriate strategies to facilitate the successful conclusion of the outstanding pre-privatization issues of the defunct PHCN, and ensure an effective implementation of NELMCO’s additional mandate to resolve the tariff shortfall problems of the Electricity Distribution Companies.”

“Given the challenges ahead, you are expected to draw extensively on our experience over the years, to continue to give credence to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s economic development programme in a transparent, sustainable, credible, and acceptable manner.

“The Board is required to take appropriate steps to also ensure that the interests of the various segments of our society, particularly the ordinary citizens, are protected in the implementation of NELMCO’s mandate,” the VP added.

Prof. Osinbajo however charged members of the Board to diligently carry out the responsibilities assigned to the board by the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association (MEMART) of the Company.

EnergyDay gathered that the Board members are expected to carry out some of the provisions of the MEMART of the Company which includes; assuming and administering the stranded debts of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Plc under the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.

NELMCO is also expected to manage post-privatization liabilities in the power sector as may be directed by the National Council on Privatisation, or any authorized agent of the Federal Government from time to time in line with the power sector reform act 2005.

Responding on behalf of the members, the Board Chairperson and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. (Dr.) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, assured the Vice President of the board’s preparedness to ensure quick resolution of tariff shortfalls and related issues in the power sector in the most efficient manner.

Other members of the board include  Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, Minister of Power,Mr. Alex Okoh  Director General of Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Ms. Patience Oniha, Director General of Debt Management Office (DMO), Mr. Bayo Fagbemi, Managing Director of NELMCO, • Mr. Muhammad Aliyu Jumma’a, Mr. Olufunso Olutola Olukoga, Dr. Chinedum Orisakwe, Mojoyinoluwa Dekalu-Thomas, and  Dr. Nurain Hassan Ibrahim.

In a related development, the BPE Director General, Mr. Alex Okoh, has said the take-over of 4 electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) namely; Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt DISCOs have been concluded successfully.

Mr. Okoh, who disclosed this in a presentation made at a virtual meeting of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) held earlier last week Tuesday, added that the challenge in the takeover of the Benin DISCO is being addressed.

The NCP is chaired by the Vice President who was represented at the meeting by the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who is the Vice Chair of the Council.

In his report to the Council, the BPE DG also made a presentation on the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant, inviting NCP to note steps taken by the Bureau to fast-track the process.

Mr. Okoh then presented for approval a proposal to amend the Procedures Manual of the BPE, especially in the areas of the legal framework; reform activities; pre-transaction activities; project advisory and delivery team; receipt of technical and financial transaction strategies, and opening and evaluation of technical proposals, among others.