Reps to probe status of PHCN non-core assets
• Experts list factors hindering power supply
• Canvass passage of PIB
The House of Representatives yesterday mandated its committees on power and privatisation and commercialisation to investigate the status of non-core assets of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) liquidated by the Federal Government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
The mandate was sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by Dr. Chukwuemeka Ujam representing Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency of Enugu State.
He noted that the non-core assets were worth billions of dollars and spreading across the country and worldwide.He noted that the agencies were supposed to be valued before being transferred for sale or use so as to recoup investments of the government.
He suggested that in a period of economic recession, there was need for sale of Federal Government assets as the non-core ones were lying fallow and allegedly being misappropriated and abused.
In adopting the motion, Deputy Speaker of the House, Yussuf Lasun, who presided over the sitting, announced a four-week time-frame for the committees to conduct the investigation and submit their report for action.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has listed dysfunctional power sector reform, inadequate gas supply, obsolete transmission equipment, lack of investment by the distribution companies, among others, as factors militating against stable electricity.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja, the NSE president, Otis Anyaeji, blamed the appalling state of electricity supply on distribution companies for abandoning the completed National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) across the country.
The NSE chief noted most transmission equipment were obsolete and required full maintenance or complete replacement before Nigeria can increase the transmitting capacity.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently review the National Energy Development Masterplan for onward transmission to the National Assembly for enactment into law.
Anyaeji, who urged government to ensure speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), said urgent steps should be taken to restore normalcy to the troubled Niger Delta by ensuring resources derived from the area were used to develop it.
This, according to him, will increase the national oil production capacity and significantly boost employment in the region.He added: “To this end, we suggest that the Nigerian content development be stretched to include host-communities as stakeholders with equity holding to give them a sense of belonging and to protect billions of dollars of oil and gas assets in the oil producing locations.”
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