By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA — Determined to drive the on-going privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to its logical conclusion, the Federal Government has set aside over N140 billion with which to settle the final entitlements of its workers at the end of the process.
Top sources at the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, disclosed, in Abuja, yesterday that “the Federal Government has made money readily available for us to be able to successfully undertake the privatisation of the PHCN. N200 billion was provided for this purpose from which we have spent about N57 billion to settle their monetisation arrears.
“The balance of about N143 billion is sufficient to settle all their final entitlements, in line with our labour policy to ensure that the workers of all privatised enterprises are well taken care of.”
According to them, the consultants that assessed the final entitlements of the PHCN workers had put the figure at a little below N120 billion.
The sources said from consultations held with PHCN workers, they were indeed looking forward to a speedy privatisation process which would provide Nigerians a leeway for guaranteed electricity power supply throughout the country.
They emphasized that the privatisation of the PHCN would be a win-win situation for individual and corporate Nigerians who have been groaning under the inefficiency of the old order, as well as, the PHCN staff.
PHCN workers, they also explained, would be the better for it as they would be paid their entitlements in full and would still be the same set of workers to be engaged by the investors in the companies that are being privatised since they already had the technical know-how.
The BPE, last week , announced a two-week extension of the deadline for the submission of the Expressions of Interests , EoIs, for the successor companies of the PHCN.
The original deadline expired on February 18 but with the new development, prospective investors now have up to March 4, 2011 to submit their EoIs.
BPE’s spokesman, Mr. Chukwuma Nwoko in the statement last that the decision to grant a two_week extension followed appeals by prospective investors and the desire of the bureau to ensure the best result in the at the end of the exercise.
“Following representations by prospective investors, the Federal Government has approved extension of the deadline for the submission of Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for the successor companies created out of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to Friday, March 4, 2011.
“The approval was granted by the Chairman of the National Council on Privatization (NCP), Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo”, he said.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises had just concluded a five_city Electric Power Investors’ Forum to court world class investors to participate in the privatization of the successor companies.
BPE’s officials were in Lagos, Dubai, London, New York, and Johannesburg.
The privatisation agency had between December 13 and 20, 2010, published adverts in local and foreign media inviting prospective core investors to express interest in the eleven distribution companies unbundled from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN.)
The BPE also invited prospective core investors to express interest in the four thermal power stations and as concessionaires for the two hydro power stations. The initial deadline for receipt of EOIs was Friday, February 18, 2011.
The core investor sales to be carried out through international competitive bidding will cover the eleven Electricity Distribution Companies in the country. They are Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc; and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company Plc.
Others are Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc; and Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc.
The privatization of thermal and hydro power stations, which will also be carried out through international competitive bidding, will cover the following companies:
Thermal Power Generating Companies:
*Ughelli Power Plc – situated in Delta area in South_South region of Nigeria with a total installed capacity of 972 MW;
*Geregu Power Plc_ situated in Kogi State in North Central Nigeria with a total installed capacity of 414 MW;
*Afam Power Plc comprising of Afam I_V power stations located in Rivers State in South_South Nigeria with an installed capacity of 776 MW; and
*Sapele Power Plc located in Sapele, Delta State in South_South Nigeria with an installed capacity of 1020 MW.
Hydro Power Generating Companies:
*Kainji Power Plc comprising Kainji Power Plants and Jebba Power Plants located in Niger and Kwara States respectively in North_Central Nigeria; and
*Shiroro Power Plc located at the Shiroro Gorge, Niger State in North_Central Nigeria.
Potential bidders should be existing power distribution companies or core investor groups with power distribution companies as long_term technical partners.
Successful bidders will be responsible for operating the distribution companies, making the necessary investments to improve the distribution network and customer service in line with the objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria set out in the National Electric Power Policy (NEPP.)