As Govt finally hands over electricity utilities, Sambo warns investors to either perform or sanctioned

By The Citizen

Federal Government Friday handed over four generation and 10 distribution companies spread across the country to private investors and managers.

At the Abuja Distribution Company, Vice President Namadi Sambo conducted the 'change of guard' between government and the investors.   Represented by Power Minister, Prof Chinedu Nebo, he charged the new Abuja Disco owners to transform the utility to a world-class facility.

But, he was quick to remind them that government would not hand over and go to sleep.

'Both the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises will continually monitor the operations of the successor companies and would not hesitate to sanction any core investor that does not deliver on the performance agreement that was executed with government,' he warned.

Noting that the handover marked the concluding stage of the transaction for 14 successor firms of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), he stressed that though the challenges facing the sector was enormous, opportunities in the sector were enormous.   His words: ' The federal government is committed to creating the enabling environment that would incentivize private sector investors to take on these challenges and the opportunities therein to ensure quality and cost-effective service delivery to the Nigerian electricity consumers. This administration is indeed committed and is determined to keep its promise of taking Nigeria out of its perennial darkness within the shortest possible period.

'I congratulate all our core investors for merging winners through a very rigorous, competitive and transparent process.  The process you have gone through has matched international best practice and has been so rightly acclaimed worldwide as one of the single largest and most transparent credible privatization transactions in history. We appreciate your faith in the process and your faith in the Nigerian government and economy.

'We want to however point out that the challenge is now for you to ensure that the successor company that is being handed over to you today is transformed to a world class company of reference in terms of the quality of service, social corporate responsibility, customers' satisfaction and profitability.

'I am, indeed, encouraged and reassured by the quality of the core investor team that is taking over the ownership, management and operational mandate of this company today. This team has the required technical, managerial and financial capacity and resources to deliver on its mandate.'

Handing over, former Chief Executive Officer of the Abuja Distribution Company, Engr. Abdulganiyu Umar, who had held sway till yesterday, stressed how opening up the sector to investors would do the country a lot of good.   The Abuja Distribution Company covers the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nassarawa, Niger and Kogi States with a customer population put officially at 650, 0000.   Official government record shows that about 3983 workers man the utility.

Umar said:  'The company occupies a very strategic location in the country and covers very important facilities that require world class services and prompt response to emergencies.