Okonjo-Iweala heads electricity board

Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's Minister of Finance and Economy

By Chesa Chesa,Snr State House Correspondent, Abuja

Finance Minister and Economic Management Team (EMT) Coordinator, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had her workload increased on Tuesday as President Goodluck Jonathan picked her to chair the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc board.
Inaugurating the board of the firm, also known as the Bulk Trader, Jonathan noted in the Villa in Abuja that the Bulk Trader is a key component of the implementation of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act.
It will act as a catalyst for new investment in power generation and is equally expected to stabilise the market for those already in the business especially as successor distribution companies of the Power holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are being privatised.
Jonathan said power distribution companies find it challenging to collect enough revenue from their customers to pay for power they receive from generating companies.
He noted that as potential investors do not have the confidence that they will receive payment when they produce and deliver power, they will not be encouraged to invest in the sector.
Therefore, he maintained, the goal of generating enough power may not be reached.
He said the Bulk Trader is “a guarantor to boost confidence to potential investors that they will be paid for the power they generate and sell to the distribution companies.”
Jonathan charged the board to be thorough in negotiating and signing contracts and agreements with power producers so that the Bulk Trader could effectively check potential payment default by distribution companies until they become financially strong to directly enter into power purchase agreements themselves.
The World Bank, of which Okonjo-Iweala was recently the Managing Director, is partnering with Nigeria to provide a partial risk guarantee to support the Bulk Trader Contract.
Jonathan urged the distribution companies to ensure that every consumer has a metre to capture revenue, which will in turn sustain power supply.
Okonjo-Iweala pledged on behalf of the board to ensure progress in the power sector.
She expressed the hope that the Bulk Trader will make a great deal of positive difference in the production, distribution, and sale of power.
The board also comprises Saka Isan (Vice Chairman); Power Minister Barth Nnaji; Bulk Trader Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Rumundaka Wonodi; Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Director General, Bola Onogoruwa; Abuja District Company CEO, Abdulganiyu Umar; as well as Mohammed Kumalia; Haruna Mohammed; and Paul Usoro.

Source: Daily Independent

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