PHCN firms bid crisis deepens

THERE seems to be no end to the bickering over the bidding for the Power Distribution Companies (DISCOS), despite the government’s insistence that the process was clean.

A committee has been set up to review parts of the process to ensure the success of a particular company which is interested in the Benin Disco, a source said yesterday.

The committee is said to be headed by a permanent secretary.

“It is to protect the interest of a company with huge losses. Besides, the company is incompetent, but it is connected with a very senior official of the Presidency,” the source said, pleading not to be named.

Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan urged the National Assembly to intervene in the sale of the distribution companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to ensure that it follows due process.

Uduaghan spoke in Asaba, the state capital, while hosting members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum Resources (Down stream sector).

He said he was worried that the companies may fall into wrong hands.

Uduaghan said a situation where the communities and states directly affected are sidelined does not portend good for the people.

He said with “such shoddy process of sale”, the companies would end up in the hands of people, who cannot deliver.

The governor said stable electricity supply is necessary for economic growth and urged the authorities not to politicise the unbundling process.

He said if it is done wrongly, it could create more problems for the country.

Uduaghan said: “State governments play crucial roles in the energy sector as regards the provision of transformers and setting up of electric lines. Governors are deeply concerned about the power situation and when the chips are down, it is the state governments that communities run to for transformers and other equipment. States should be accommodated in the privatisation process”

He said the nation experienced similar challenges in the petroleum sector when some oil wells were sold without involving the communities and the states, adding that eventually, most of the beneficiaries were unable to access the wells.

Chairman of the committee Mr. Dakuku Peterside said they were in the state to inspect Federal Government projects.

Peterside said the routine oversight function was necessary to check what was being done with funds and ascertain whether projects earmarked for the state were executed.

He said Delta was strategic in the oil industry and should not be ignored in the implementation of projects and programmes.

The Nation

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