The newly elected board of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, would strengthen ongoing efforts to address liabilities linked to tariff shortages for electricity distribution firms across the country.
Osinbajo made the claim in remarks made virtually at the inauguration of the new 10-member board of NELMCO, according to a statement released on Sunday and signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
“FG moves to resolve tariff shortfalls in the power sector as Osinbajo inaugurates the board of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company,” reads the announcement.
The vice president also directed the board, which was made up of the ministers of finance, power, and other departments, to safeguard the interests of society, particularly of common people.
Since the first board was established in 2013 and disbanded soon after, NELMCO had been operating without a properly constituted board until Friday’s inauguration.
According to the Vice President, “today’s inauguration marks an important milestone in the bid to resolve the liabilities relating to tariff shortfalls in the power sector (specifically for Distribution Companies), and to provide a veritable mechanism for managing the very dynamic nature of the liquidity challenges of the power sector in Nigeria.
“This ceremony formally brings on board the invaluable skills and experience of notable and highly respected personalities as members of the Board of NELMCO.
Setting expectations for the new board, Osinbajo told the members that, “as a board, you are expected to make conscious and deliberate efforts to develop appropriate strategies to facilitate the successful conclusion of the outstanding pre-privatisation issues of the defunct PHCN, and ensure effective implementation of NELMCO’s additional mandate to resolve the tariff shortfall problems of the Electricity Distribution Companies.
“In view of the challenges ahead, you are expected to draw extensively on our experience over the years, to continue to give credence to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s economic development programme in a transparent, sustainable, credible and acceptable manner.
“The Board is required to take appropriate steps to also ensure that the interests of the various segments of our society, particularly the ordinary citizens, are protected in the implementation of NELMCO’s mandate.”
He also urged the board members “to diligently carry out the responsibilities assigned to the board in accordance with the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company.”
According to the statement “Some of the provisions of the MEMART of the Company include: To assume and administer the stranded debts of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria Plc pursuant to the provisions of Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
“To manage post-privatisation liabilities in the power sector as may be directed by the National Council on Privatisation, or any authorized agency of the Federal Government from time to time in line with the power sector reform act 2005.”
Dr. Zainab Ahmed, the board’s chairperson and minister of finance, budget, and national planning, told Osinbajo in her speech that the board was ready to provide the quickest possible settlement of tariff gaps and related challenges in the electricity sector.
Other members of the board include the Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, Director General of Bureau for Public Enterprises, Mr. Alex Okoh, Director General of Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha, Managing Director of NELMCO, Mr. Bayo Fagbemi, Mr. Muhammad Jumma’a, Mr. Olufunso Olukoga, Dr. Chinedum Orisakwe, Mojoyinoluwa Dekalu-Thomas and Dr. Nurain Ibrahim.
The takeover of four energy distribution companies, namely those in Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt DISCOs, has reportedly been completed satisfactorily, according to BPE Director-General Mr. Alex Okoh.
Okoh said this during a presentation at the National Council on Privatization’s August 16 virtual meeting. She also said that the problem with taking over the Benin DISCO is being fixed.
The Vice Chair of the council and Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, attended the meeting on Osinbajo’s behalf.