From ADEWALE SANYAOLU, Abuja
The Federal Government has announced the signing of contracts with bid winners of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies, leading to their eventual take-over effective today. The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, disclosed this to journalists at the on-going Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, yesterday.
According to him: “Hopefully, by Thursday, most of the contracts would be signed at a very significant function. Most of the companies that won the bid to purchase the generation companies (Gencos) and the distribution companies (Discos) will be signed on,” he said. He, however, assured the prospective owners of the PHCN successor companies that the Federal Government would ensure that all government agencies settle their outstanding bills before the eventual take over in mid-year. “To ensure that regulatory agencies, market operators, system operators and MDAs are consistently delivering on their respective mandate and to ensure that payment are being made as at when due.
“It has always been a problem that many of the government agencies owing a lot of billions. This is not going to continue as the privatisation enters into conclusion,” he stated. The Roadmap to Power Sector that was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan in August 2012 was based on removing obstacles to private sector investment to ensure accelerated development of the Nigeria’s electricity market; and to improve service delivery. Meanwhile, the country has recorded a total loss of 620 megawatts per hour of electricity in three months, between October and December 2012, arising from differences in average electricity generated and average electricity consumed during the period. This was contained in a report obtained from the fourth quarter economic report released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to the report, the country generated an average of 3,598.5MW/h of electricity in the fourth quarter, while only 2,978.5mw/h of electricity was consumed during the period. The report noted that electricity generation appreciated by 7.2 per cent to 3,598.5mw/h from 3,358 mw/h generated in the third quarter of 2012. The improvement in average electricity generation was attributed to the increase in gas supply to the thermal stations and increase in water levels at the hydro stations. Moreover, Nebo assured participants that the country would attain 20,000mw by the year 2020. Meanwhile, the development, according to findings by Daily Sun, is one of the two very critical contracts for gas supply to generating companies. Besides, government has also concluded plans for the implementation of a short-term action plan for the power industry while also developing hydro and coal as alternative sources of energy.
Also, the implementation of a framework that will guarantee increased gas supply for major gas projects, especially at the transmission and distribution interface level are equally receiving adequate attention in readiness for the gas supply agreement. Inadequate gas supply remained a major set back to the realization of constant power supply in the country as a result of the activities of vandals. Meanwhile, the minister of Power assured that already disengaged workers and those that will be laid off from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) will be begin to receive payment of their terminal benefits from next week. Nebo stated this in his presentation at the ongoing Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) conference in Abuja, assuring that all those to be disengaged from the services of PHCN as a result of the privatization exercise would be paid their benefits.
“The emoluments of those people that are being laid off or have to be laid off will be paid while ensuring that they don’t leave the place without adequate compensation vis a vis what the labour has signed with the respective unions,” he said. According to him, the process of privatization is moving towards completion,adding that many companies will sign on before weekend and will be required to pay the first tranch of the money they have been asked to pay so that they can take ownership of the companies. “We want to enhance investor confidence through the successful completion of the privatization process. And that is why a lot has gone in so that transparency becomes the watchword in the entire process. “And the power sector is very glad that it is well noticed all over that transparency remained the key word in the entire process,” he said.