End to Power Crisis in Sight as NCP Approves 14 DICOs, GENCOs

Baring any unforeseen circumstance, the issue of power crisis may soon be a thing of the past as the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) chaired by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, has ratified the sale of 10 electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) and four generation companies (GENCOs).
The companies included the Enugu Disco, for which the reserve bidder is challenging the sale 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 reportedly owned by business mogul, Emeka Offor, while Eastern Electric is believed to be owned by former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji.
Chairman of the NCP Technical Sub-Committee, Atedo Peterside, who confirmed the eventual sale to State House Correspondents, however, declined to give details of how the issue was resolved because it is now before the courts.
According to Peterside, the NCP has consequently referred the case of Sapele Genco to the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice for advice before it would be reconsidered.
This step, he said, was necessitated by the legal issues that have been raised regarding the company.
The chairman said: “In today’s meeting we met largely to discuss the power sector transaction, about the PHCN DISCOS and GENCOS and the NCP ratified all the transactions except one and I will explain.
“For the DISCOS, the sales of the ten of them were to the preferred bidders and were ratified. I repeat the sale of the DISCOS to the preferred bidder was ratified.”
He continued: “For the GENCOS, all the sales were ratified except for Sapele. In the case of Sapele, the preferred bidder has not paid in full for the asset as of today and so what the NCP decided was to refer the matter to the Ministry of Justice and get the legal interpretation before coming back to take a final decision on Sapele because some legal issues were raised.”
“Meanwhile, 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,” he exlained.
Director-General of the Bureau for Pubic Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Dikki, 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 would be done in October by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Dikki explained further: “The NCP has given a clear directive to the accountant General but full payments of all entitlements of staff should be concluded early in the week, certainly between 23rd and 27th of Sept, every staff entitlements should be fully paid in order to facilitate a smooth hand over.
“In the month of October, we are going to commence and conclude the handover of the enterprises to the private sector owners.
“We will announce the date when we will simultaneously handover the companies to all the 15 owners but 14 for now. 14 have paid and council has approved,” Dikki said.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, added that PHCN workers’ entitlements would be paid with proceeds from sale of the Genco and Disco assets.
He noted that about 26,000 of the 49,000 workers have already been paid.

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