By Fortune Abang
Abuja, – An NGO, the Power Transparency Watchdog, on Thursday called for sustainable standards in processes of public assets disposal to promote transparency in Nigeria’s power sector.
Mr Abdullahi Ibrahim, the Programme Officer of the organisation, made the call in a statement issued to Journalists in Abuja.
Ibrahim said that the call had become imperative as Nigeria had faced many challenges in power sector, there was therefore, the need for government agencies to uphold standards to move the nation forward.
He said that poor regulatory processes by some agencies of government in the bid for tenders often posed barrier for transparency in the nation’s power sector.
He said that an agency such as the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Ltd. (NELMCO) was still on track in an era of many controversies in terms of assets disposal.
‘‘We pried over many agencies of government and stumbled on NELMCO, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, to have set new standards in public assets disposal.
‘‘Our interest in the agency was triggered by level of transparency in process of expression of interest seeking credible organisations to serve as inventory for non-core assets of the defunct PHCN.
‘‘The unfavourable public perception about the processes leading to the selection of values of property and doubts on amounts quoted was believed to have been compromised.
‘‘Our checks indicate sale of public property must have been valued within 12 months from the date of the sales, which we believe has necessitated revaluation being carried out by NELMCO.
‘‘This is the first time government agencies such as Esvarbon and NIEVES, who have mandate to certify and regulate estate surveyors in Nigeria will play a role in public assets disposal,’’ he said.
Ibrahim lauded the act by NELMCO to have conformed to due processes and extant laws of Nigeria to be worthy of emulation in the public service affairs.
He said that the inclusion of Esvarbon and NIEVES by NELMCO in the public asset disposal processes marked deviation from previous sales regime in the country.
He extolled stringent measures being put in place by NELMCO to be major achievement that had been recorded since the history of Nigeria’s monetisation sales processes.
He identified strict adherence to guidelines for disposal of public assets, registration with Corporation Affairs Commission and tax clearance to be some of the new measures for public assets disposal.
He described the engagement of EFCC and ICPC as observers of the entire pre-qualification processes in the public asset disposal process as a step in the right direction.
Ibrahim recalled that NELMCO had carried out comprehensive audit in the six-geopolitical zones of the country in 2017, when it discovered the existence of certain PHCN property.
‘‘So in the bid to recover these assets, NELMCO published an expression of interest for the procurement of services of consultants to carry out audit of all PHCN property.
‘‘This we also discovered to be the first time an agency of government is going out at such monumental scale to recover stranded public assets in Nigeria.
‘‘As the sale process continues, it is important to task the management of the agency to keep the high standard it has set not just now but even after the sale,’’ Ibrahim added.