Surprise! Surprise! visit PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:24

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

Over a month ago, according to my grapevine, a reliable source of information, the Zamcelco Board officers and some cooperative board staff were invited by the National Electrification Administration (NEA), in Manila, for an important meeting on many important matters confronting the electric cooperative. One important matter of the NEA meeting, is the ongoing negotiation of Zamcelco’s property on whether to sell it outrightly with a Manila businessman buyer or go for the idea of Investment Management Contract, with an interested group of investors, who are mostly players in our power industry. The NEA meeting was exclusively for Zamcelco Board officials and other guests invited by NEA who are stakeholders in the cooperative business.

* * * *

Surprise of all surprises, Zamboanga City District 1 Congressman Celso L. Lobregat, prime mover of the Investment Management Contract (IMC) scheme for Zamcelco, popped up from nowhere and joined the NEA meeting, to the surprise of the Zamcelco Board members who were there and the NEA officials who all displayed mixed reactions on the unexpected visit. Zamcelco Board officials quickly denied that they informed Congressman Lobregat on the meeting which was supposed to be only for Zamcelco Board and NEA management officials. But, some Zamcelco officials suspect that one board member informed Congressman Lobregat before hand on the NEA meeting since one important matter to be discussed is the sale of Zamcelco property and the “mole” board member thought that the scheme of IMC which Congressman Lobregat is pushing vigorously might be scuttled in favor of sale. However, the presence of Congressman Lobregat allegedly changed the mood of the NEA meeting that even NEA and Zamcelco officials remained silent until it was unanimously agreed that Zamcelco will adopt the IMC scheme. It is now a done deal that the Investment Management Contract (IMC) is the solution to Zamcelco’s huge problem on system losses and financial liquidity.

* * * *

In the coming months Zamcelco will be discussing IMC and how it should work and for how many years and what should be in the provision of the IMC and perhaps the IMC staffing pattern and create an “oversight committee” for the smooth turn-over of some management functions, aspects and responsibility. This is a serious matter that the Zamcelco board officials should handle with concern, because it has to have a 2/3 vote of approval by the general cooperative membership taken in a general assembly meeting. One very important thing, the IMC is totally a different matter from the “rehabilitation scheme” approved by the coop members taken during the last Annual General Membership Assembly. To preclude any legal complication in the future, Zamcleco must first take a 2/3 approval from the cooperative members.

* * * *

A new development is now going around, that Zamcelco will take the approval from the members on the IMC, by Zamcelco districts. There are  at least 7 Zamcelco districts in the city. The questions is:  How many votes from the members of each district to compose 2/3 votes of the general membership of the cooperative? How accurate and honest can the votes taken from the 7 districts be guaranteed? what assurance that politicians with stakes in the IMC will not interfere in the district by district membership approval? These kinks should first be emphasized so that the IMC will go smooth sailing in Zamcelco since IMC is like privatization of the cooperative because it will take many years to terminate the contract.

* * * *

One reason gleaned from concerned officials as to why IMC is chosen over the sale of property, is that, allegedly the technical people in Zamcelco will not do their best in lowering the problem of system losses and also allegedly Zamcelco is not equipped with the  best “technical know how” to solve complex problems of systemslosses. This is indeed a valid reason, because the huge amount of money from the sale of the Zamcelco property might promote laxity from the technical people of Zamcelco.

* * * *

A friend of Table Talk in the energy business from Manila, called up and suggested another school of thought solution for Zamcelco’s domestic problems. He said that sale is also good for Zamcelco. After selling Zamcelco properties and the cooperative will have enough money in reserve, it could go in a Management Contract (MC) for its operation. It could hire experts to manage the coop’s operation without losing Zamcelco management’s grip on the cooperative. The MC are just paid for their services maybe on a profit sharing agreement and the cooperative is still intact and will not be interfered by investors. Management Contract (MC) is far different from Investment Management Contract (IMC) because the cooperative management is free to choose as to what management group it chooses to hire for profit sharing.

* * * *

Scoop:Who knows the investors in the Investment Management Scheme (IMC) after everything is settled will hire their own  Management Contract (MC) group to do the operations of Zamcelco for the IMC? Everything is possible. Power players in the industry arae  a close knitted group of big time business conglomerates, sometimes they operate like a syndicate to monopolize a certain industry. Agree or disagree, my opinion.