By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The lingering tussle over who owns the Aba ring-fenced area between Geometric Power and Interstate Electric (Owners of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has been finally laid to rest with the signing of the Asset Sale Agreement (ASA) between the two companies.
The ASA was signed in Abuja, on Wednesday, according to a statement by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), yesterday.
At the signing ceremony, Director-General of the Bureau, Mr. Alex A. Okoh, said the ceremony marked a significant milestone in the process of the power sector reform, given the long drawn process of the transaction.
He noted the challenges facing the electricity sector in Nigeria but said the enormous and limitless opportunities in the sector were worth exploiting.
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Okoh said that the Federal Government had demonstrated ample commitment by tirelessly working to create the enabling environment that would incentivise private sector investors.
According to him, the agreement “is a win – win situation, we congratulate both parties. Indeed, we thank the duo of Interstate and Geometric Power for their cooperation in making the required compromises which have made this agreement possible”.
He tasked Geometric Power to transform Aba and Ariara Business Units into a model distribution franchise by providing 24/7 electricity supply and enabling the industrial hub to flourish.
In his remarks, Managing Director of Interstate Electric Limited, Dr. Kester Enwereonu called on Geometric Power to ensure speedy enhancement of the infrastructure in the franchise through positive investments that would raise the ability of the company to deliver power to the consumers and expressed gratitude to the BPE and the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Mr. Ahmed Rufai Zakari for their cooperation though the process of the negotiation of the transaction.
Managing Director of Geometric Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, expressed gratitude to the federal government for its intervention to help resolve the disagreement and pledged to make a success of the deal.
Zakari said the signing ceremony signalled a return of investment in the power sector in Nigeria. He commended the BPE for its commitment to eliminating challenges to transactions in its purview.
An agreement was entered into between the Federal Government, National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and Aba Power Ltd (APL) on April 28, 2005. The parties executed a supplemental agreement on August 31, 2006.
Following the Privatisation of the power sector in 2013, Interstate Electric acquired 60% of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) from the BPE pursuant to a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement dated August 21, 2013 between the BPE and Interstate (the “SSPA”) and a number of other agreements signed with them.
Subsequently the distribution licence was issued to EEDC over five states in South East Nigeria, which area also included previously and exclusively licensed Aba Ring-Fenced Area granted to Aba Power Limited (APL).