The Federal Government is planning to hand over the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to private sector franchise.
Information gathered from a top government official told The Guardian at the weekend that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), and other concerned bodies have started the development of a business plan for the nation’s transmission infrastructure.
TCN is regularly referred to as the weakest link in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
Meanwhile, with the contract it signed with Manitoba Hydro International of Canada for the management of TCN ended, and control now under Nigerian administrators as part of the post-Manitoba reversion plan, the government’s concession move is expected to discuss the way forward for a more viable transmission company.
The source said the plan to hand over TCN to private sector operators might take a year or two to be concluded, noting that the formulators of the proposed concession blueprint are studying several options.
The final document is expected to incorporate ingredients that will hopefully stimulate investors’ interest and make the corporation attractive to them.
According to Guardian, a number of local and international investors have been mounting pressure on the government to open TCN to private sector investors to put in the required funds and expertise to address the many challenges confronting the Nigeria’s distribution capacity.
However, no government official was willing to speak officially on the development. It was learnt that the final plan would be unveiled when the draft is completed and approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).
According to an official, “I can confirm that government is developing a concession plan for TCN. This could take a year or two to finalise. The plan is to make TCN attractive to investors. The handover of the transmission firm to Nigerian management is part of the reservation plan as contained in the management contract with Manitoba.
He added, “The Ministry of Power and the BPE are currently studying available options towards building TCN to the level where it can be concessioned.”