TCN reiterates commitment to transparency, accountability

By Dorcas Jonah
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) says it remains committed to transparency, accountability, and delivering essential services to Nigerians.

A TCN consultant, Mr Oyofo Sule, said this at a news conference on Saturday in Abuja, while reacting to a report alleging that specific contracts termed emergencies were not awarded in line with the procurement guidelines.

Sule said that TCN had always ensured that it lived up to expectations in meeting the need of the teeming Nigeria’s populace and ensuring that there was no breakdown or collapse in the nation’s grid.

He said that contrary to the claim, emergency procurements were always applied, whenever the need arose and procedures were always followed.

He said that the TCN recent emergency procurement was part of efforts to cushion the effects of insurgency and vandalism and the effects caused to transmission towers.

Sule explained that TCN had over 1,800KM of 330kV and 132kV high voltage transmission lines, and transmission towers traversing the entire nation and several very difficult terrains.

“This includes swamps, forests, areas prone to flooding which cause rapid erosion of tower bases, and natural disasters.

“Some of these towers and lines pass through land mines in insurgency prone areas, which was inevitable as the lines must convey electricity to the citizens.

“These difficult terrains negatively impact transmission towers and also make it easy to vandalise the towers and lines underscoring the need for emergency procurement,” he said.

According to him, the scourge of insurgency and vandalism threaten transmission towers bearing the high tension lines and when these towers are attacked, they must be repaired almost immediately.

”This is to forestall the total collapse of the tower which often will drag and pull down a number of towers along the same line rout.

”If not quickly remedied, it can cause full system or partial collapse of the nation’s grid.

In this case the method of emergency procurement to quickly effect repairs will be adopted,” he said.

Sule said that Section 43 of the Public Procurement Act 2003, states that “A procuring entity may for the purpose of this Act, carry out emergency procurement where the; (a) the country is either seriously threatened by or actually confronted with a disaster, catastrophe, war, insurrection or act of God.

” The condition or quality of goods, equipment, building, or publicly owned capital goods may seriously deteriorate unless action was urgently and necessarily taken to maintain them in their actual value or usefulness.

He said with this condition, TCN could undertake emergency procurement of the projects.

”The Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP), is the government Agency saddled with the responsibility of enforcing the monitoring and prior review of thresholds set by the council.

”This is for the application of the provisions of the Procurement Act by procuring entities, they stipulate to all procuring entities the procedures and documentation prerequisite for the issuance of “No Objection” for contracts to be awarded.

”Being professionals with expertise in the procurement process, they review all procurement submissions as it relates to the contracts, including the listed in the publication,” he said.

Sule said that BPP thoroughly reviewed the contract documents before granting TCN “No Objection” and requested further clarification and documentations to support the method of procurement before they were approved.

”This is contrary to the allegation on inflated contract prices, the Bureau actually observed that TCN made some savings through contract negotiations held with various contractors before arriving on a reasonably price limit.

”This was in consideration of the emergency nature of the projects in question and the current market process,” he said.

Sule said that in line with the provisions of section 42 of the Public Procurement Act 2007, for direct procurement, TCN obtained official approval from the BPP.

Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

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