Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information request to Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Minister of Power, Works and Housing asking him to provide information on specific details of spending on the privatisation of the electricity sector and the exact amount of post-privatisation spending to date, and to explain if such spending came from budgetary allocations or other sources.
The organization is also seeking “information on the status of implementation of the 25-year national energy development plan, and whether the Code of Ethics of the privatization process which bars staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and members of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) from buying shares in companies being privatized were deliberately flouted.
In the letter dated 7 May 2018 and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the organization said that since the privatisation of the power sector, the government has continued to use public resources to subsidize private entities.
The Goodluck Jonathan government reportedly spent over N400 billion on the power sector while the present government spent over N500 billion on the sector despite privatisation. It is unclear if this spending is drawn from budgetary allocations and if these are loans to generation companies (GENCOS), Distribution companies (DISCOS) and Transmission Company of Nigeria.
SERAP said, “Assuming the funds are given as loans, SERAP would like to know whether appropriate guarantees have been provided to secure such loans, and whether such loans provide value for money for Nigerian tax-payers. Publishing details of spending on privatization of the power sector and post-privatization spending on GENCOS and DISCOS would serve the public interest and provide insights relevant to the public debate on combating corruption in the power sector as well as help to improve citizens’ access to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply.”
According to the organization, “If the requested information is not provided to us within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.”