19 November 2012 – Nigeria has cancelled a US$23.6 million transmission system management contract with Canadian group Manitoba Hydro International (MHI). In July 2012 Manitoba signed the deal that gave it a mandate to manage and rehabilitate the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

The reason given for the cancellation is that the contract, awarded by staterun privatisation agency, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), did not pass through the federal cabinet for approval as was required and the huge amount involved was above the privatisation agency’s approval threshold.

It is rumoured that the contract may be handed over to India’s Power Grid Corporation, one of the three firms originally shortlisted. The other company shortlisted was the Electricity Supply Board of Ireland.

Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) chairman Sam Amadi says this revocation of the Manitoba contract has thrown up more challenges for the electricity sector in Nigeria and its electricity privatisation programme.

Don Priestman, Manitoba Hydro’s managing director has condemned the cancellation of the contract, saying: "We had a clear contract and we were meant to be given delegation of authority, but that did not happen.There are forces working against reforms of the power sector in Nigeria, as similar contract Manitoba has in Kenya is working well."