By Clara Nwachukwu
Federal Government has fixed Friday, February18, 2011, as the deadline for the receipt of applications in respect of the purchase of power distribution and generating companies that are being put on sale.

The deadline follows the call for the Expression of Interests, EoIs,  by prospective core investors by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, in a statement issued on Sunday, in line with efforts to deregulate the nation’s power sector, which has been under the monopoly of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, even as BPE reassures that the exercise will be fool proof.

Transparency concerns

In another statement, Wednesday, by the BPE spokesman, Chukwuma Nwokoh, the Bureau said: “In view of the disingenuous campaign by the electricity unions against the privatisation agency, we reiterate that our transaction processes are above board.

“Our obsession for transparency and integrity are manifest in the selection of the transaction advisers for the successor companies and adverts calling for applications from prospective core investors for the companies.”

The BPE made the declaration following allegations by the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, that the BPE will sell the companies unbundled out of the PHCN to “friends of the government,” thereby calling out its members to a national rally against privatisation  today.

Apart from the NUEE reservations on the transparency of the exercise, other concerned groups in a text message also alleged of deliberate ploy to sell the power companies to friends of government.

The message accused the Presidency and the Ministry of Power of deliberate cover up of contracts for power projects that were not properly executed.

Among those cited are contracts for the 330/132KV Power Transmission lines and associated power substations in Umuahia and its environs; the supply of HV line restoration Towers for PHCN; the supply of power and distribution transformers by contractors, even under the National Elecetric Power Authority, NEPA, which were never executed.

Transaction advisers

Defending the choice of the CPCS Transcom consortium, as transaction advisers, in response to the strike by NUEE, BPE said: “CPCS consortium emerged as transaction advisers through a keenly contested procurement process involving leading international infrastructure transaction advisers. Members of the CPCS-led Consortium include CPCS which specialises in the power/energy, transportation and urban infrastructure sectors.

“In investment banking, they have Taylor-DeJongh; CPCS Transcom; Ecobank and Castalia Strategic Advisors. For legal work stream, there are Herbert Smith; Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun; Benchmac & Ince; and CPCS Transcom. For technical work, they have SNC- Lavalin and Mono Tech Input Limited. On economics/finance work, they have CPCS and Castalia Strategic Advisors. KOO Partners will undertake accounting work.

“It would be recalled that the process of engaging consultants was through Quality and Cost-Based Selection, QCBS, method. 10 firms were invited to express interest in receiving Requests for Proposal, RFP, to form consortia as transaction advisers. They were UBA; Stanbic-IBTC; Standard Chartered Bank; African Finance Corporation, AFC; Goldman Sachs; and Lazard Frères. Others were IPA Energy + Water Economics; CPCS Transcom; JP Morgan Stanley; and Rothschild.”

Companies on offer

In the earlier statement, BPE said it had called for EoIs in the 11 distribution companies unbundled from the PHCN, in paid advertisements in both local and foreign media.

Among the distribution companies on offer are:

1. Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc;

2. Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc;

3. Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc;

4. Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc;

5. Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc;

6. Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company Plc;

7. Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc;

8. Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Plc;

9. Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc;

10. Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc; and

11. Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc.

In addition to the distribution companies, BPE is also calling for EoIs interests in some thermal power stations as well as for concessionaires for some hydro-power stations through international competitive.

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.