The House of Representatives has opposed the alleged plan by the Federal Government to sell Afam Power Generation Company as a dilapidated asset.
Asking that the process of the company’s privatisation be reversed, the lower chamber of the National Assembly warned that sale of the firm would be counterproductive.
The resolution was passed on Wednesday following the adoption of a motion entitled, ‘Need to Investigate the Planned Privatisation of the Afam Power Plc by the Bureau of Public Enterprises as a Dilapidated Asset.’
A member, Mr Ayodele Oladimeji (PDP, Ado Ekiti/Irepodun/Ifelodun Federal Constituency), moved the motion.
Granting prayers of the motion, the House unanimously resolved to urge the National Council on Privatisation to “immediately suspend the process of privatising Afam Power Plc on a fast-track transaction basis to allow for completion of the repairs of Phases 4 and 5 machines, as well as the construction and rehabilitation of Afam Power Plant road being undertaken by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency to enhance its value.”
The lawmaker also mandated the House Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation to invite the Director-General of the BPE to “ascertain the status of the transaction.”
Moving the motion, Oladimeji decried that power plants were being constructed hundreds or thousands of kilometres away from gas sources, requiring that pipelines be laid across the distance to power the facilities.
The lawmaker said it was ironical that plants with available gas were being sold off.
He said, “The Bureau of Public Enterprises has resumed the privatisation, as dilapidated asset or a scrap on a fast-track transaction, of Afam Power Generation Company earlier suspended, as one of the means to finance the 2018 budget.
“The Sapele Power Plc and the Ughelli Power Plc were privatised by the BPE in 2013 in the same manner as the planned privatisation of Afam Power Plc, and both are now in dire financial constraints along with other Generating Companies, resulting in the Central Bank of Nigeria intervention with N701bn payment assurance guarantee due to expire in December, 2018.
“The GENCOS, are still faced with problems of lack of gas and weak infrastructure which cannot take all the generated energy and also serious liquidity crisis;
“The sale of Afam Power Plc as a dilapidated asset on a fast-track transaction will not yield the result envisaged by the Federal Government in privatising the public enterprise as it would likely join the league of over 37 non-performing privatised public enterprises.”
The Deputy Speaker, Mr Yusuf Lasun, said all decisions to privatise public assets “have not been done with Nigerians at heart.”
According to him, it is not good to privatise what Nigerians spent so much money to acquire. He decried that government was always in a hurry to sell off the assets.
Lasun urged the legislature to revisit the previous privatisation processes.
The Majority Leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, also supported the motion.