BY MICHAEL EBOH
The Federal Government, Wednesday, said it will announce the names of prospective buyers of the 10 National Integrated Power Project, NIPP, power plants, August 8, 2013.
Mr. Benjamin Dikki, Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, who disclosed this at an investment road show in Hong Kong, said the sale of the power plants falls within the context of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda.
He reiterated the commitment of the government to creating a conducive atmosphere for private capital inflows, adding, however, that the deadline for the submission of expressions of interest for the power plants remains July 19, 2013 and that there is no plan to extend the date.
According to him, the intention of the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for the sale of the10 power plants was meant to improve on the rigorous requirements of the PHCN successor companies’ privatization transactions.
He said, “It is critical that all interested parties and potential investors go through the EOI guideline document.
“Prospective bidders should be aware of some of the observed lapses by prospective bidders in the previous bid processes. They involve bids failing to substantially comply with the Requests for Proposal (RFP), failure to meet the threshold of required tangible net worth, failure to submit bid bonds, failure to submit audited accounts, failure to submit bids on time, among others.”
Dikki stated that the BPE and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, are partners in the joint sale transaction process for the sale of the 10 power plants, adding that the BPE is legally authorised to sell Federal Government’s 47 per cent shares, while NDPHC has the authorization of the states and local government councils to sell 53 per cent of the 80 per cent shares on offer.
He maintained that the BPE will add significant value to the process using its vast experience in privatization of assets in Nigeria spanning nearly 500 transactions in its 25 year history, with the most recent being the sale of the 15 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies.
“Besides power, the transport and housing sectors, development finance institutions and the Abuja Commodities and Stock Exchange that will introduce the warehouse receipt trading system, are also great investment opportunities awaiting interested local and international investors,” he added.
Also addressing the potential investors at the Hong Kong road show, Mr. Gabriel Suswan, Governor of Benue State, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Technical Committee for the transaction, said that power is the bedrock of the development agenda of the current administration in Nigeria, adding that it is the policy of the Federal Government to ensure that solid foundation is laid.
He said the three tiers of government— local, State and Federal –have invested well over $8 billion in building the ten power plants.
Suswan added that with a population of over 160 million, Nigeria is the largest market for investors in Africa and the atmosphere is conducive for investments.
In his own remarks, Senator Chris Ngige, Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, said the proceeds of over $2.6 billion raised by the BPE in the privatization of PHCN successor companies, is the largest privatization transaction ever in Nigeria and one of the largest in the African continent.
He noted that the contract between the BPE and winning bidders of the 15 PHCN successor companies were signed in February 2013 and the privatization transaction process is expected to conclude by September this year. He further pointed out that the privatization of the power sector is expected to accelerate the growth of the nation’s economy. Ngige assured potential investors that their investments are safe in Nigeria and money well spent.