Uncertainty as Finance minister overrules power counterpart, reinstates sacked NBET boss

Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning,  Mrs. (Dr.) Zainab Ahmed, has overruled the power minister, Mr. Saleh Mamman, with the inauguration of the board of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) still having the purportedly sacked Dr. Marilyn Amobi as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer.

This shows that the power tussle between the two ministries is nowhere near end.

Power Minister, Mr. Saleh Mamman, had recently announced the appointment of DrNnaemeka Eweluka as replacement for Amobi as approved by President Buhari

The re-constituted Board of NBET which took place in Abuja has been necessitated by the challenges of the power sector, particularly the challenges of NBET in achieving its mandate, according to Mrs. (Dr.) Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning. 

Speaking on understanding the role of NBET, she said:  “we have all come to better understand the role of NBET as the manager and administrator of the electricity pool in the Nigerian electricity supply industry (NESI), and how it buys electricity from the generating companies (GenCos) including Independent Power Producers (IPP’s) under Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and resells it to the distribution companies (DisCos) via vesting contracts.”

“The role of NBET in the stabilisation of the power sector cannot be overemphasised as it plays a key role in the generation of market confidence through well-negotiated and well aligned contracts with fair risk allocation that protects market participants from credit and systemic risks. NBET stands as a de-risking agent in the power industry as it acts as a credit worthy off-taker of power procured from Gencos in the absence of bi-lateral contracts between Gencos and Discos,” she stated.

Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi in a statement said the contractual obligations and guarantees NBET issues and manages, according to her, are therefore of strategic importance for the repositioning of the sector and delivering of benefits to Nigerians for which NBET was established. 

Ahmed, who is the Chairman of the Board, said: “The reconstitution of the board therefore took consideration of the current stage of evolution of the restructured electricity sector, the complexities the sector currently faces, multi-disciplinary skills of prospective Board members especially in finance and investment, electricity generation, system operations of deregulated electricity markets, administrative law, as well as economic regulation of network utilities, amongst other factors.” 

Urging everyone present to note the importance of the assignment, she also said: “It is important that we bring our skills and experiences to bear in this critical assignment. 

“It is important that we build NBET to become that defensive wall against potential payment defaults, till generation companies and distribution companies are able to enter into power purchase agreements on bilateral basis. NBET has to be able to successfully fulfill its role in the management and administration of financial flows in the sector, the promotion of a contract-based market that allocates risks efficiently to parties responsible for them and the formulation of policies for efficient system settlement. 

She noted that the “electricity deregulation is still evolving in Nigeria, and the country is basically learning as the privatised market evolves. However, we do not have all the time, as the longer it takes, the more costly it is financially for Nigerians and the country at large.”

She, therefore, urged the members to ensure all hands are on deck and that their tenure as the Board in the transitional market trading arrangement should leave a good mark in the sands of time. 

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the reconstituted the Board of Directors of NBET. a Non-Executive Director from Ministry of Power, to be represented by a staff not below the level of a director; Mr. Alexander Ayoola Okoh, as Non – Executive Director from Bureau of Public Enterprises (80% Shareholder in NBET); Ms. Patience Oniha, Director-General, Debt Management Office, as Non-Executive Director; Mr Ben Akabueze, Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, as Non-Executive Director. 

Also appointed are Suleyman Ndanusa, former Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as Non-Executive Director (Independent); Engr. Mustapha Balarabe Shehu, former President Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), as Non-Executive Director (Independent); Mr. Adeyeye O. Adepegba as Non-Executive Director (Independent); and Dr. Marilyn Amobi, as Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer. 

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