By Msugh Ityokura, Abuja
House of Representatives, yesterday, directed the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) to stop the sale of five Niger Delta Power Holding Companies (NDPHC) generation plants.
The facilities up for auction, according to the lower legislative chamber, are located in Calabar, Cross River State; Ihorbor, Edo State; Olorunsigbo; Omotosho and Geregu, Kogi State.
The plants were constructed under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) to enhance the agency’s contribution to power stability.
Magaji Da’u Aliyu, who moved a motion at the plenary in Abuja, recalled that a similar attempt in 2013 to sell the plants on the ground of avoiding reliance on one grid failed.
The lawmakers are disturbed that the Federal Government is reportedly insisting on proceeding with the auction without allegedly considering the disposition of other critical stakeholders.
NDPHC is 47 per cent owned by the Federal Government, with states and local councils having the remaining 53 per cent shareholding. Besides, the board has the Vice President as chairman, six state governors, representing the nation’s geopolitical zones and Ministers of Justice, Finance, Power and State for Petroleum Resources.
The House held that the Privatisation Act, which expressly lists enterprises to be privatised, did not list NDPHC or any of its generation companies on the ground that it is not wholly owned by the Federal Government, “yet, the BPE encourages the government to proceed without corresponding approval of all the shareholders to validate the process.”
It went on: “The House is informed that the National Economic Council, on December 24, 2019, at its 100th meeting, recommended that the sale of NDPHC assets (should) be discouraged as Distribution Companies (DISCOs) are dysfunctional, while the account of the company has to be properly audited to ensure the best corporate governance practice as a prelude to considering the divestment.
“We regret that the interest of shareholders and the national economy would be jeopardised if urgent action is not taken to prevent the BPE from selling the assets under an irregular procurement process.
“Consequently, we caution the BPE Director-General, to desist from any act to facilitate the sale of the said power plants until duly authorised by the shareholders in a formal meeting as stipulated by the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.”