The reconstituted supervisory board of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has asked the federal government to finance expansion projects in Nigeria’s power sector with funds from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).
Speaking shortly after the board’s inauguration by the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, yesterday in Abuja, Chairman of the board and a onetime chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Haman Tukur, asked the government to set aside at least $2 above the official benchmark price of crude oil to finance projects in the power sector.
Tukur noted that his experience while in charge of affairs at the RMAFC showed that Nigeria’s revenue inflow from her crude oil resources would be sufficient to fund projects in the country’s power sector, adding that Nigeria has no excuse generating below 4,000MW of electricity.
“We have no reason for Nigeria to generate 4,000MW for a country of 160 million people, honourable minister. I will like to hold you and the Minister of State for Power responsible and not the TCN board to take us to that stage to give Nigerians the power for industrialisation.
“We have been speaking English for the past 15-20 years but it is time for you people on this board to do something, otherwise it will be a shame; we have to move, we have to convince the presidency and executive arm of government to move Nigeria to where it ought to be,” Tukur said.
Speaking further, he said; “Now, I often hear the presidency and members of the National Assembly complaining that we have no resources. I served as the head of revenue mobilisation for 10 years and I worked on the resources of Nigeria and I know Nigeria has the resources.
“Honourable minister, I just want to give you one quick example: Every year, we fix our budgets at a benchmark crude oil price… Let’s put it at $80 and if you sell that crude oil at $100 and you have a difference of $20. In other countries, that is the difference they use to develop their infrastructure.
“Honourable minister just demand for $2 out of every barrel every day; it is not going to affect the budget of the federation, nor the federal government, state or local governments, because the benchmark is what the budget is built upon.
“We design the formula for the distribution of the resources of this country, so I happen to know that the dollar is there, take it. Sir, for goodness sake take $2 out of this money, it is within the law and we would have a developed power sector.”
Earlier, Nebo had explained government’s decision to reconstitute the TCN board, saying it was President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to add new members to give the board greater focus, dynamism and bearing to perform.
According to him, government will lend support to the board in sourcing and securing funding for prudent investments in the transmission infrastructure.
The 18-man board is headed by Tukur, and assisted by the former chairman of Skye Bank, Akinsola Akinfemiwa, while Garba Sanusi, Prof. Peter Akpor, Mrs. L. Shuaibu and Okwudili Ikejiani are representatives of the Ministries of Power, Justice, Finance and Petroleum Resources respectively.
Others include Mike Uzoigwe for the generation companies, O.C. Akamnonu for distribution companies, Dr. Sam Egwu, Jonathan I. Adole, Prof. Aako Ugbage, Dr. Ferguson Tobins, Joseph Makoju for Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Don Priestman for TCN, Benjamin Dikki, M.M Gumel, and Abubakar Tambuwal.