No fewer than 36 power sector investors have submitted Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for the five National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs) put up for sale by the Federal Government.
The Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, told journalists in Abuja, yesterday, that the privatisation of the five NIPP plants was in line with the bureau’s 2021 work plan as approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).
The affected plants are: Benin Generation Company Limited at Ihovba, Edo State; Calabar Generation Company Limited, Cross River State; Geregu Generation Company Limited, Kogi State; Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited, Ogun State; and Omotosho Generation Company Limited, Ondo State.
Okoh revealed that based on the approval of the NCP, the BPE has already engaged the services of a Technical Adviser who would assist the agency in the transaction process.
He added that the Evaluation Committee constituted by the bureau, which also included nominees of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) has commenced work on the EoIs.
The initial process was for the ten NIPP plants to be privatized.
That process commenced in 2012 and by November, 2013 bidders had submitted technical and financial proposals for their privatisation.
“In the Request for Proposal (RfP), the bidders were informed that they would be required to pay the full purchase consideration for the acquisition of 80% equity in the NIPP generation companies”, Okoh stated, adding that an approval was given through the NDPHC in February, 2016, to proceed with a phased implementation of the programme by negotiating with the Preferred Bidders of the four (4) NIPP generation companies with the least challenges.
However, he noted that the transaction was eventually stalled largely due to the liquidity challenges in the power sector, amongst other factors.
He said that the challenges were being addressed comprehensively by the Federal Government through various programmes like the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), the World Bank Distribution Intervention Programme (DISREP), the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank’s interventions in addressing the sector’s payments management, as well as, the bottlenecks between the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Meanwhile, workers in the nation’s power sector, on the platform of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) have served the Federal Government a notice of industrial unrest over planned sale of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), warning of its threat to national security, among others dangers.
Already, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which had earlier rejected the plan to sell the TUC, declared “Operation Save TCN from the Enemies of Nigeria” and full support for the workers’ action.
The NLC, through its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, called on the National Assembly and other well-meaning Nigerians to join forces with labour and stop any attempt to sell TCN to private individuals to the detriment of the Nigerians.
The NUEE, in a statement by its General Secretary, Comrade Joe Ajaero, argued that “leaving the nation’s full power architecture in the hands of private business owners, who lack the expertise to own and run critical economic assets, poses serious security risk to the nation, as we will be driven by the wimps and caprices of the ‘harvestors’.”
Ajaero contended that the enemies of Nigeria had once deceived the country to grant about N1.5trillion to the same private individuals the government sold its distribution and generation facilities to, at a ridiculous rate of not more than N400billion.
He lamented that almost eight years after the privatisation of the power sector, there had not been any visible improvement in terms of power supply, expansion or investments by the new owners of the DisCos and GenCos.
The NUEE general secretary fingered “Three key officers working with a few vested interest in the Ministry of Power, who do not understand the concept in power generation, transmission and distribution, to carry out their selfish personal privatisation agenda and milk the nation off its vital economic assets.”
According to him, “Why would the Federal Government want to privatise TCN with the improvement made in terms of expansion and strengthened transmission network? The five-yearly performance appraisal process provided for in the Electric Power Sector Reforms (EPSR) Act, 2005, has been jettisoned despite calls by Nigerians to review the performances of the sector players.
“A dime has never been declared as profit for government’s 40% asset ownership in the privatised companies till date, yet it remains a pitiable tale of ‘private gain, public disaster. We had alerted the Federal Government and Nigerians against going into a fraudulent/fictitious agreement with SIEMENS towards improving transmission capacity to a level which the existing nation’s transmission capacity had surpassed.
“It will be recalled that in December, 2019, the Union embarked on an industrial action over non-implementation of agreements reached with the Federal Government over the 2013 privatisation and other salient issues bedevilling the power sector. Despite the intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly and the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Power in its deep slumber is still busy pursuing rats when its house is on fire.
“This statement serves as notice to Nigerians that the union will resume its suspended industrial action for the non-implementation of the agreements. Besides, the plan to further enslave Nigerians based on hemlock prescriptions of the IMF, World Bank and Britton Wood institutions will meet the resistance of the masses and workers of Nigeria, who lost their jobs in thousands, some without pay and Nigerians who have been paying for darkness with the over 400 percent tariff increase for services not rendered.
“With the non-implementation of the agreements reached with labour eight years after, worsening power supply situation, exploitative tariff imposition on toiling people of Nigeria, and projected 200 percent increase in tariff in the first year of TCN privatisation, the struggle will be between the oppressors and the oppressed,” they stated.
North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has boasted that the North was a rich region, and can survive on its resources without the “billions” accruing to Southern states.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known, yesterday, when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He was reacting to the tussle between states and the Federal Government on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Although Rivers and Lagos states have started the process of collecting VAT within their territories, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on September 10, ordered that status quo be maintained pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Apart from Lagos and Rivers states, Ogun State has also started the process of passing a bill on VAT in its House of Assembly.
At the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in Enugu, last Thursday, the 17 governors insisted that they have the constitutional mandate to collect VAT, and vowed to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the matter.
While some northern governors like Aminu Masari (Katsina), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), amongst others, had kicked against the move, the 17 Southern Governors led by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had unanimously supported the position that “the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”
Speaking, yesterday, during the television programme, Baba-Ahmed said, “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then, we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the North, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate (it).
“The thing is: the North wants restructuring; the North wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region, and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
According to him, the VAT war is a wake-up call to northern governors who need to recognise the fact that VAT or no VAT, they need to develop their resources and develop the human capital of the North.
The NEF spokesman added, “North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the North is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have.
“We need leaders; the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“But for goodness sake, (they should) begin to think — what else can we do if the court decides now that Rivers State is right, Lagos State is right, and the Southern states are right, and they won’t be getting all these billions coming in from VAT? What happens?”
Baba-Ahmed said the Northern governors at this stage should not be sleeping, noting that the North is “sitting on wealth, we have massive resources in this country, we have to fight insecurity first, and the Federal Government has to help us, we need to clear the bushes, the forests and all the criminals that are there, and we need to go back to farming.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong”, he argued.
Boxing: Joshua Facing Toughest Test In Usyk?
Boxing champion, Anthony Joshua could face his toughest test yet when he fights Oleksandr Usyk in London on Saturday, says ex-world champion George Groves.
Joshua, 31, puts his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles on the line against Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian has won all 18 professional fights, beating Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora on that run.
“Technically, Usyk is brilliant,” said Groves . “He showed that in unifying the cruiserweight division in great fights and I believe he could be Joshua’s toughest test to date. This is the first fight when I wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua got beaten.
“Joshua has fought [Wladimir] Klitschko and been in with Joseph Parker and also been beaten [by Andy Ruiz] and the only question mark for Usyk Is he big enough to compete with AJ?
“If Usyk keeps a high pace and makes Joshua miss with a lot of shots, that will work to Usyk’s advantage as he has probably got a better engine.
“Joshua is a phenomenal athlete with tremendous punching power and strength but has a tendency to tire out if the pace is uncomfortable for him.”
A crowd of more than 60,000 is expected and it will be the largest attendance Joshua has fought in front of since his win over Alexander Povetkin with 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in September, 2018.
Since then, Joshua has lost to Ruiz in New York before winning the rematch in Saudi Arabia and gained a ninth-round victory over Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena last December, with only 1,000 fans attending because of Coronavirus restrictions.
Both Joshua and Usyk won gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, at super-heavyweight and heavyweight respectively, with the Briton going on to win 24 of his 25 professional fights, including 22 inside the distance.
Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2015 and is pushing for a rematch with him or a shot at WBC champion, Tyson Fury, believes the key to beating Usyk on Saturday is to adopt an attacking strategy.
“I think it’s a great fight and Joshua will stop him in the first six or seven rounds,” Whyte told Tidesports source.
“Usyk will start fast and Joshua should be cagey as Usyk is a bit lighter. Joshua can sometimes lack confidence but hopefully he goes back to the old him, starts pressing, being the bigger, stronger guy and gets the job done early.
“If Joshua sets the pace, he can get an early knockout and if he is strong, confident and walks him down, then I don’t see Usyk’s punches troubling Joshua.”
Groves, who held the WBA Super-Middleweight belt in 2017 and 2018, added: “If I was Joshua, I would take control of the ring and try to dominate and bully off the front foot.
“Usyk will want to be off the back foot for the first couple of rounds, then try to pepper Joshua.
“If I was in the Joshua camp, I would say: You want to keep this guy in his box. You don’t want Usyk having any confidence, so hit him hard and early.
“In the first three rounds, you want to land something big on him.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn also suggested Joshua could get an early victory.
Hearn said: “I’m always nervous for an Anthony Joshua fight, especially when you’re fighting someone that really believes he is going to win”.
2022 AFCON: ‘Cameroon On Track’
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, has said that Cameroon is “on track” to successfully host the Africa Cup of Nations early next year after visiting Olembe Stadium in Yaounde last weekend.
The venue will host the opening match and final of the AFCON in January and February of 2022.
A CAF delegation, including President Motsepe and General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, were joined by Cameroon’s Sports Minister, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi in inspecting progress made at the Olembe Stadium and various other facilities in the capital city.
“I’m very satisfied with the briefing I got and what I saw. I saw the Olembe Stadium and it is world class; we should all be proud as people of Cameroon and as Africans,” said Motsepe, as quoted by CAF’s website.
“We must applaud Cameroon [for] building such infrastructure. In partnership with the Government, the Minister of Sports, LOC, FECAFOOT President and CAF administration under Veron [Mosengo-Omba], I’m certain that in January next year, the rest of the world will be impressed. I’m very satisfied with what I have seen. We are on track.”
Motsepe continued: “The quality of football that will be played here will once again show the world that Africa has the quality to one day win the FIFA World Cup, that is the ultimate goal. The AFCON is special and I think it is important for us to set the tone in Cameroon.”
Mosengo-Omba also heaped praises on Olembe Stadium: “The infrastructure and architecture of the stadium is world class and can be compared to many other famous stadiums globally. In Cameroon, we have six beautiful match venues. Our job now is to ensure that we are ready with everything else.”
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