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FG okays sale of 10 discos

By The Rainbow
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The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) yesterday approved the payment of the remaining 75 percent of 14 out of the 15 bidders for the acquisition of the 15 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies.

Rising from its sixth meeting in the year, the NCP also approved the late payments by North South Power and Interstate Electric Limited for Shiroro Power Plc and Enugu Distribution Company Plc respectively but subject to the late payment penalty as provided in clause 12.20 on interest for late payment and clauses 5.5, 5.5.1 and 5.5.2 of the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA).

The NCP had approved the payments of the 12 companies which made payments on or before the August 21- due date. They include  Amperion Power Co. Ltd (Geregu); Transcorp/Woodrock (Ughelli); Integrated Energy Company (Ibadan); NEDC/KEPCO (Ikeja); Vigeo Power Ltd. (Benin); Aura Energy Ltd. (Jos); Integrated Energy Company (Yola); Mainstream Energy Ltd. (Kainji);

Other are West Power & Gas (Eko); Kann Consortium (Abuja); 4Power Consortium (Port Harcourt); and  Sahelian Power SPV Ltd. (Kano).

However, the Council referred the case of CMEC/EURAFIC consortium, the preferred bidder for Sapele Generation Company who had paid $119,887,156 of the $201,000,000 bid consideration to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for advice. It was gathered that there were legal issues which needed to be resolved.

The Chairman of NCP Technical Sub-Committee on the sale process, Atedo Peterside, confirmed to State House correspondents the eventual sale to Interstate Consortium, at the end of its meeting, declining however to give details of how the issue was resolved because it will be subjudice, since the matter is now in court.

The preferred bidder, Interstate consortium, had reportedly failed to meet payment deadline but still secured the deal, a development the reserve bidder, Eastern Electric, is challenging in court.

Interstate is linked to businessman, Emeka Offor, while Eastern Electric is linked to former Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji.

Peterside disclosed that the bulk of the proceeds from the sales is being used for the payment of severance entitlements to about 49,000 workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), original owners of the DISCOs and GENCOs.

Director-General of the Bureau for Pubic Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Dikki, in his remarks disclosed that the Accountant-General of the Federation has been directed to go ahead with the payments.

He said all payments are scheduled to be completed by September 27, while the formal hand-over of the companies to the new owners will be done in October by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, in his remarks, stressed that PHCN workers' entitlements would be paid with proceeds from sale of the GENCO and DISCO assets, especially when virtually all successful bidders have paid.

He disclosed further that about 26,000 workers have already been paid off, adding that there would be massive post-service training although massive job losses are not expected as many of the workers would be absorbed by the new owners.