By Ediri Ejoh
The House of Representatives has urged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to rescind the suspension of the executive and non-executive directors of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company.
The resolution followed a motion under matters of urgent public importance by Rep. Sunday Adepoju (Oyo-APC) at the plenary in Abuja.
In the motion, Adepoju noted the critical role the power sector played in Nigeria’s economy.
He said that in the Federal Government’s privatisation policy, Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited became a core investor in Ibadan Electricity Distribution Plc and the Yola Electricity Distribution Plc, adding that “The House is aware that due to the protracted violence in the North-East, the Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited declared Force Majeure.
“This terminated the sale of Yola Electricity Distribution Company and entitling Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited to a refund from the Bureau of Public Enterprises of the money it paid for a stake in the company.
“The House is conscious that though the refund to Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited fell due since 2015, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) is yet to fulfil its obligation.
“It recently caused the Federal Government to provide for it in the 2018 Appropriation Act. The house is also conscious that in two separate agreements executed in 2015 and 2016, the Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited borrowed a total of N6, 000, 000, 000 from the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company.
“This is to pay off some of the debts it incurred in the failed Yola Electricity Distribution transaction, which the house is impressed.”
Adepoju said that in spite of the expected refund from the PBE, which served as security against the loans, the Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited in December, 2017 reached an understanding.
He said “the understanding with NERC was to pay the sum of N150, 000, 000 monthly to Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company towards the settlement of the loans. The House is satisfied that the Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited as at June 14, 2018, had paid the said N150 million from January to May, 2018.
“Although, there were hiccups occasioned by cash flow, payment is currently up to date. We’re alarmed that vide its order referenced as NERC/181/2018 and dated June 19, 2018, the NERC suspended all executive and non-executive directors of the Ibadan Electricity Regulatory Commission.”
The lawmaker described the suspension as “counter-productive’’, saying it would not only affect the investors’ confidence in the market, but also deprive the company of critical management needs.
“This is at a time when all hands should be on deck in addressing the myriad of challenges facing electricity distribution companies nationwide.’’
When the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, put the motion to a voice vote, it was unanimously adopted.
The Committee on Power was, therefore, charged to investigate the matter with a view to protecting the electricity market environment, and report back within four weeks.