The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has once again reinstated Ms Marylin Amobi as the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) and also inaugurated the board.

Monday’s development pits her against her Power counterpart, Saleh Mamman, who on two occasions had recommended her sack.

Until late last year, NBET was under the Ministry of Power but President Muhammadu Buhari moved it to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning after Mamman tried to sack Amobi on December 24, 2019.

Amobi and her minister had allegedly clashed on several occasions.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed inaugurated the new NBET board on May 7, where she sits as the Chairman and Marylin Amobi as the Chief Executive Officer.

However, penultimate Monday, the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, revealed in a statement that Mr Nnaemeka Ewelukwa would succeed Amobi as NBET boss following presidency’s approval that she proceeded on terminal leave with immediate effect.

Mamman said he received approval from the President to appoint Ewelukwa, NBET General Counsel and Secretary, as the new Managing Director.

‘He is to succeed Marilyn Amobi, as substantive Managing Director/CEO, while the former MD is to handover and proceed on terminal leave with immediate effect,’ the letter from the Minister of Power read.

‘President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier approved the recommendation to this effect.’

However, a letter from the Ministry of Finance said the president has approved that Amobi is allowed to serve out her tenure which would end on July 24.

The letter dated June 15, the same date as Mamman’s, was attached to a June 8 memo signed by Ibrahim Gambari, the President’s Chief of Staff.

Mamman and Ewelukwa were copied in the letter, signed by Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance.

‘The President has approved that you serve out your tenure at the completion of which you should hand over to Nnaemeka Ewelukwa who is to take over from you as the MD/CEO. Your appointment which took effect from July 25, 2016, for four years is to end on July 24, 2020,’ the letter from the Ministry of Finance read.

However, speaking at the inauguration of the reconstituted Board of NBET in Abuja on Monday, the Finance Minister pushed for quicker deregulation of the power (electricity) sector, as the current situation is forcing Nigerians to pay more for power.

‘Electricity deregulation is still evolving in Nigeria, and the country is basically learning as the privatized 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 members of the new board to work assiduously to ensure that their tenure in the transitional market trading arrangement brings good tidings to the country.

Ahmed noted that the new board was necessitated by the challenges of the power sector, particularly with regards to NBET achieving its mandate.

‘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 creditworthy off-taker of power procured from Gencos in the absence of bi-lateral contracts between Gencos and Discos,’ she stated.

The minister noted that the contractual obligations and guarantees that NBET issues and manages were of strategic importance in the repositioning of the sector and delivering the desired benefits to Nigerians, in line with the mandates of NBET.

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.’

While urging the board members to appreciate the importance of the assignment, Ahmed 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 a bilateral basis. NBET has to be able to successfully fulfil 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.’

President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the reconstitution of the Board of Directors of NBET.

A Non-Executive Director from Ministry of Power, to be represented by 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.

 

Source: The Sun

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