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FG makes $2.525b from sale of PHCN

By The Rainbow

The Federal Government has made $2,525,824,534 from the sale of 14 successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Limited, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE)  has said.

In a statement by BPE's Director of Communications, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, in Abuja on Sunday the bureau the President Goodluck Jonathan will today present the licences to the owners of the successor companies.

A statement yesterday in Abuja by the Director of Communications, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Chigbo 'So far, ofthe 14 successor companies scheduled for handover, US$2, 525,824,534 was realised as proceeds. Of the amount, US$1,256,000,000 came from the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) while the Generation Companies (GENCOs) raked in US$1,269,824,534,' Anichebe, said.

The BPE said the Federal Government had set aside about N384 billion to settle labour liabilities.

The agency said the President would present the share certificates and licences to the 15 new owners of the PHCN successor companies who have fully paid their bids.

'The presentation, which is scheduled to hold today at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, is part of the build-up to the activities for the 53rd Independence anniversary of Nigeria,' the statement said.

The statement quotes  the Director-General of the BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, as saying: 'This handover is a culmination of 14 years of painstaking effort by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), the BPE and other key stakeholders to reform and liberalise Nigeria's electricity industry, which began in 1999.'

The Electric Power Sector Reform Implementation Committee (EPIC) was set up in 2000 with the mandate to find legal and regulatory frameworks for the sector.

This gave birth to the National Electric Power Policy, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in September 2001, followed by the passage of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005.

Howvever, electricity workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) have said they would to resist the planned handover of the PHCN Monday (today).

They said the Federal Government should first settle all agreements with Labour before the handover.

The NUEE and SSAEAC said they would picket the PHCN headquarters in Abuja and Lagos today, if the government hands over the power companies to their investors without abiding by the agreement with Labour.

The unions' leadership yesterday directed the members across the country to resist the handover of PHCN's facilities to investors.

In a statement by its General Secretary, Comrade Joe Ajaero, the NUEE directed its members to resist what he called the forcible takeover of PHCN.

The statement reads: 'Further to our earlier circular to resist the forcible takeover of PHCN, it is now clearer that the Federal Government is bent on handing over PHCN's facilities to investors without conclusively settling labour issues.

'This position of government is not only unfair and condemnable but is a direct affront on the economic, social and physical well-being of the workers and their families.'