Govt shortchanged by P3 billion a year

A LAWMAKER expressed “shock and dismay” at the revelation made in yesterday’s House committee on energy meeting that the government is being shortchanged by P3 billion a year due to the privatization of the National Transmission Corp. (Transco), now National Grid Corp (NGCP).

When questioned by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, Transco president Moslemen Macarambon admitted before the committee that from annual revenues of P20 billion, the income is now down to P17 billion in concession fees, or a lost income of P3 billion a year.

This was confirmed by newly appointed PSALM president Emmanuel Ledesma, Jr. who was also present at the hearing.

“I am shocked to learn that prior to privatization, Transco earned P20 billion a year for the government coffers and gave employment to more than 3,600 government workers. Now that we have sold the crown jewel of the power sector, we are only getting P17 billion from the concessionaire,” Casiño said.

“I though privatization was supposed to benefit the government, not incur losses?” he immediately added.

Transco was privatized in December 2007 and is now operated by a consortium composed of OneTaipan Holdings of Henry Sy Jr., and Calaca High Power Corp of the Coyiuto group in partnership with China’s State Grid Industry Development Ltd.

Transco links the country’s power plants to the 123 distribution utilities and electric cooperatives all over the country, which in turn delivers electricity to end-users.

“This means that at the minimum, the concessionaire NGCP earns P3 billion a year, money that could have gone to the government if it did not sell Transco,” stressed Casiño.  D’Jay Lazaro

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