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*Says IBEDC worse than pre-privatisation

*Insists banks have no license to retain ownership

By Obas Esiedesa, ABUJA

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) yesterday justified the decision to restructure the ownership of four electricity distribution companies, DisCos, saying the performance of the sacked owners was abysmal.

The Director-General of BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh in a statement in Abuja reacting to the opposition to the takeover   by sacked owners of Benin, Kano, Kaduna and Ibadan DisCos, said the utilities were the worst performing in the market. Okoh singled out Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC for particular mention, stating that the company’s performance was worse under the management of the sacked owners than pre-privatisation in 2013.

He insisted that restructuring was temporary as the government expects the commercial banks who now manage the companies to sell them to new investors soon, as they had neither the license nor capacity to manage electricity companies.

Recall that three days ago the companies’ owners were sacked by the government after lender, Fidelity Bank called in their loans. But the owners have described the takeover as illegal.

BPE said the decision was commercial and contractual.

According to the agency, “It is envisaged that the majority interest in these DISCOs would be sold to competent private sector investors with the requisite technical and financial capacity to re-capitalize and manage these entities efficiently.

“As an interim measure, NERC and BPE met on an Emergency Basis and activated the Business Continuity Process and appointed interim Managing Directors in the affected DISCOs as follows: Kano DISCO – Ahmad Dangana; Benin DISCO – Henry Ajagbawa; Kaduna DISCO – Yusuf Usman Yahaya. It must be reiterated that some of the publications from the Core Investors of these DISCOs have been quite disingenuous. Beyond the financial issues I have just discussed, the DISCOs affected happen to be the worst-performing ones.

“Ibadan is currently being managed by a so-called Receiver Manager as a sole administration. The Receiver Manager has absolutely no capacity to manage a utility and has not been authorised by the Regulator as a manager of a DISCO.

“Ibadan is the worst performing DISCO as per the Performance Assessment   review conducted in December 2021. Ibadan DISCO has actually retrogressed in terms of their critical performance parameters as contracted in the Performance Agreement signed with the Bureau. In fact, the DISCO under the management of the Core Investor, Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited (IEDM), has performed worse than before it was privatized”.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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