$364 Millions World Bank Loan Sets Fashola, TCN On Collision Course| FortNews

The current epilep­tic power supply may get worse as the Fed­eral Government and electricity workers are pitted against each other over the change of guard ordered in the Transmission Company of Ni­geria (TCN) by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN).
Apparently suspecting foul play in the minister’s directive that TCN’s Managing Director, Mr. Abubakar Atiku hands over to a new helmsman, the work­ers have kicked against the ac­tion.

They feared that Fasho­la’s intervention in the man­agement team of the TCN was prompted by the $364 million World Bank loan that the com­pany is about to access.
Their fear is fuelled by the fact that the new MD is an ac­countant and a junior of Atiku before he left the company. They asserted that TCN, being a tech­nical-driven entity, the occupant of the office should not be an ac­countant.

According to the workers, Fashola is bringing in his cro­nies, whom they described as incompetent, to solely manage the loan.
Consequently, the electric­ity workers asked the govern­ment to reverse its order or face strike. TCN is Nigeria’s sole transmission power.
The workers warned on Wednesday that they would re­sist the attempt by Fashola and the Permanent Secretary (Pow­er), Louis Edozien, to impose an “unqualified person” on the company.
At the premises of TCN in Abuja, yesterday afternoon, the leadership of the unions ordered their members out of their duty posts, saying that they have written letters to the government opposing the at­tempt to replace Atiku who has been in the position since Au­gust last year when the man­agement contract with Mani­toba Hydro ended.
According to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Coun­cil Chairman of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Engr. Wisdom Nwa­chukwu, the government wrote a letter last Friday ordering Atiku to immediately handover to Mr. Usman Gor Mohammed.
Nwachukwu said: “On Fri­day last week, we were actually in this building when we got a message from our national sec­retariat that they learnt that the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola has informed Atiku, who is our MD here, that some­body is coming to take over his position through the Permanent Secretary and that it is with im­mediate effect”.

He alleged that Atiku in­formed the Permanent Secre­tary that he would not hand over the management of the compa­ny because due process was not followed, a position the unions support.
Nwachukwu noted that at least a three-month notice ought to have been given to Atiku to do so.

“How can they say he should handover to an accountant who rose through him and if we are to look at the process of promo­tion, the highest position the man would attain right now will be Principal Manager and we are talking about him becoming a managing director,” he stated.

Nwachukwu pointed out that the new man “is an ac­countant by profession and this is a company that is highly technically-driven. The indices of the staff position here should be about 75 percent technical and 25 percent non-technical. So why are you bringing an ac­countant as head?

“We did our investigation and the information we got is that the World Bank is bring­ing in some money here for a project and the ministry is bringing in their own person who they can dictate to and not leaving the existing man­agement to do its job,” he said.

Reacting to the develop­ment, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), in a letter to Fashola, pointed out that as an engineering outfit the compa­ny must be headed by an en­gineer which is the best global practice.
In the letter signed by the NSE President, Engr Otis An­yaeji, he said that the society “believes in the capability of the members of staff in the compa­ny and therefore wishes to reaf­firm her confidence in their abil­ity to turn the company around. The present management struc­ture had understudied Manito­ba Hydro International manage­ment for the period of their stay and took over with apparent im­provement in the operations of the company as reported in the National Electricity Regulato­ry Commission (NERC) per­formance report at the last sec­torial meeting in Lagos on the 19th of January 2017”.
NSE faulted the new ap­pointment, noting that it learnt that “the reason given for the invitation of the official of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to manage the compa­ny is because of the loan ($150 million plus promissory note of $200 million) the bank will give the TCN”.
NSE said that it is wrong for the government to give a lender the power to appoint the chief executive of an entity it is lend­ing to and advised the minister to create a project management unit to administer the fund in­stead of handing over TCN to a lender.

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