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Power: FG to move to next stage of PHCN unbundling

By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA—THE Federal Government, yesterday, said it was ready to complete the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, as part of efforts to revamp the company and enable it to provide efficient service to consumers.

The Minister of State for Power, Arc. Nuhu Sombo Wya, said at a workshop on the Review of Standard Bidding Documents and Procurement Procedures Manual, organized by the Bureau for Public Procurements, in Abuja, that plans were already in top gear to ensure “the corporatization of the successor companies.”

Wya said: “The unbundling of the sector has been done since 2005 when the former National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, was unbundled into18 successor companies, and government feels it is time to move on to the next stage of the project.

“What we are trying to do now is to further corporatize those companies to be fully independent and with Board of Directors to ensure they operate like any registered corporate entity.”

The minister who refuted insinuations that the government had backed down on further unbundling of the power company, noted that the complex nature of the organisation, its size, as well as the areas of coverage, meant that the process must be approached gradually.

He said: “Privatisation of the power company is not just to sell it off to money bags. The process is designed to make the utility more efficient to improve its performance and to make it self-funding. On our own part in the ministry, we are too happy to articulate the policy, too happy to monitor implementation of the unbundling and to ensure that government plans are realised.”

Investment in power sector

Wya said even when privatization of the PHCN was completed, the Federal Government would still be investing in the power sector to make it attractive to would-be buyers, adding that about $6 billion annually ($60 billion in ten years) was required to develop the power sector if the nation wants to achieve the targeted 40,000MW of electricity generation and distribution by the year 2020.

He noted: “This is why reform is very important in order prepare a framework for participation by everybody, including the private sector, not just the government.”

Wya who did a quick assessment of the President Goodluck Jonathan government’s activities within the power sector in the last 100 days, noted that there had been marked improvements within the sector.

He said: “Within the last 100 days, we have done our level best to improve on what was on the ground, and we are confident that more successes would be recorded with the reforms in the power sector still on course.

“Nigerians are definitely feeling the impact of the reforms in the electricity sector. Electricity is not something you can just buy in the market and consume immediately. There are long-term procurement processes to be done before contracts can be signed.

“What we are doing is to manage whatever we have in a sustainable and predictable manner. Nigerians will feel the impact, after this period of gestation.

There is a system in place now for a continuous and sustainable growth of the power sector, and people are beginning to experience the development in the improvement in generation and things would be ramped up as the months roll by.”


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