Group Wants Fashola To Account For Post-Privatisation Spending On Power
Babatunde Fashola was just a Governor when the Privatisation of the Power sector climaxed in 2013, but now he is a Minister and he has some work to do about how the post-privatisation spending has been done.
Plenty of money has gone down the drain into efforts to give Nigerians constant light and sometimes it does appear like it is rocket science to achieve what some African countries have pushed behind them more than a decade ago.
Now a rights’ group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), is asking the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Fashola, “to urgently provide information on specific details of spending on the privatisation of the electricity sector and the exact amount of post-privatisation spending to date.
It also wants the minister to explain if such spending came from budgetary allocations or other sources.
SERAP is also seeking “information on the status of implementation of the 25-year national energy development plan, and whether the Code of Ethics of the privatisation process which bars staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and members of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) from buying shares in companies being privatized were deliberately flouted”.
In the letter dated 7 May 2018 and signed by SERAP executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni the organisation said: “Since the privatisation of the power sector, the government has continued to use public resources to subsidise private entities.
“The Goodluck Jonathan government reportedly spent over 400 billion Naira on the power sector while the present government spent over 500 billion Naira on the sector despite privatisation.
“It is unclear if this spending is drawn from budgetary allocations and if these are loans to generation companies (GENCOS), Distribution companies (DISCOS) and Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“Assuming the funds are given as loans, SERAP would like to know whether appropriate guarantees have been provided to secure such loans, and whether such loans provide value for money for Nigerian tax-payers.
“Publishing details of spending on privatisation of the power sector and post-privatisation spending on GENCOS and DISCOS would serve the public interest and provide insights relevant to the public debate on combating corruption in the power sector as well as help to improve citizens’ access to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply”.
According to the organisation, “if the requested information is not provided to us within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.”
The organisation expressed concern that “the privatisation of the sector and unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into different generation, distribution and transmission as well as post-privatisation spending and the identities of those who bought GENCOS and DISCOS have remained shrouded in secrecy"
It believes that the privatisation of power assets has already caused major crises, ranging from illiquidity, load rejection, metering, corrupt practices, lack of gas to power the stations, disinterestedness of investors, lack of injection of fresh capital after acquisition of financing, tariff interest, consumer apathy, foreign exchange hostilities, and sundry issues.