samboVice-President and Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), Alhaji Namadi Sambo, will tomorrow formally hand over the physical assets of 14 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies to their new owners.

The hand over would coincide with the decision by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) to withdraw its members from all the PHCN facilities across the country by tomorrow.

The federal government yesterday disclosed that it had paid a total of N214.22 billion to 40,093 workers of the workers as severance allowance.
The event is expected to occur simultaneously at the headquarters of the successor firms across the country where the vice-vresident would be represented by the ministers and other top government functionaries.

However, a statement from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), which was signed by its spokesman, Chigbo Anichebe, and made available to THISDAY yesterday, said the Sapele Generation Company (SGC) would not be affected by the exercise since the NCP had directed its legal committee to undertake a comprehensive legal review of the status of the company following the failure to complete payment by the preferred bidder.

In a related development, the successor companies expected to be handed over to the new investors include Abuja Distribution Company (owned by KANN Consortium Utility), Benin Distribution Company (Vigeo Power Consortium), Eko Distribution Company (West Power & Gas), Enugu Distribution Company (Interstate Electrics Ltd) and Ibadan Distribution Company (Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Limited).

Others are: Ikeja Distribution Company (NEDC/KEPCO Consortium), Jos Distribution Company (Aura Energy Limited), Kano Distribution Company (Sahelian Power SPV Limited), Port  Harcourt Distribution Company (4Power Consortium) and Yola distribution Company (Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Limited).

The generation companies expected to be handed over are Shiroro (owned by North-South Power Company), Kainji (Mainstream Energy Solutions Ltd), Geregu (Amperion Power Distribution) and Ughelli (Transcorp Ughelli Power Plc).

Top government functionaries, who would represent the vice-president at the various hand over venues are: Minister  of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo (Abuja), Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Ibadan): and Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke (Enugu).

OtherS are Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga (Eko), Minister of Transport, Senator Idris A. Umar (Kainji/Jebba) and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF)  and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (Yola).

Others include the Minister of Mines and Steel Development,  Mohammed Musa Sada (Kano), Minister of Information, Labaran Maku (Jos), Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu (Ughelli) and Minister of State (Works), Ambassador Bashir Yuguda (Shiroro).

Also participating in the exercise are the Director General of BPE, Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki (Ikeja & Egbin), Permanent  Secretary, Ministry of Power, Dr. Godswill Igali (Port Harcourt), Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Power, Mr. Beks Dagogo-Jack (Benin) and Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu (Geregu).  Dikki had noted that “This handover is a culmination of 14 years of painstaking effort by the NCP, BPE and other key stakeholders to reform and liberalise Nigeria’s electricity industry, which began in 1999.”

So far, out of the 14 successor companies scheduled for handover, a total of   US$2, 525,824,534 was realised as proceeds. Out of the amount, US$1,256,000,000.00 came from the Distribution Companies (DISCOs), while the Generation Companies (GENCOs) raked in US$1, 269,824,534.

The federal government has equally set aside the entire proceed of N384 billion from the transaction to settle labour liabilities.
In its determination to resolve all labour issues before the handover, the BPE said it had despatched a team of consultants and its staff for the biometric data capture of 1, 478 employees of the Enugu Distribution Company who could not be audited because of virus attack on the system where their names were stored.

Discussing the 4Power Consortium Limited’s commitment to stimulating economic growth and improving electricity and service delivery in the South-south region, the Managing Director of Income Electrix Limited, a member of the consortium, Mr. Matthew Edevbie, stated that the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) “will foster a high performing culture that motivates employees to create value and make a difference in the lives of customers and in the communities they live and work.”

The Chairman of 4Power Consortium Limited, Hon. Augustine Wokocha, also said: “As a private company, we will breathe new life into PHED’s programme of investment and innovation, and this will enable us to become the most efficient and sustainable utility company in Nigeria. That means our customers can expect an increasingly reliable power supply and also far better services.”

Meanwhile, the federal government equally has said the sum of N80.290 billion had been paid as pensions and gratuities.

While briefing State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of stakeholders in the power sector  at the Presidential Villa, the Permanent  Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, said government would  ensure that all PHCN  workers, whose record had been validated are duly paid their entitlements.

He further said the payment was coming ahead of the handover of the assets of the PHCN by private investors tomorrow simultaneously across the country.

He stressed that an additional 605 workers have also been validated on Tuesday and their payment have just been paid.
However, NUEE said the directive became necessary following the desperate move by the federal government to physically handover PHCN facilities to investors without the resolution of labour issues.

The union also accused government of deploying armed military troops to all PHCN installations stating that the aim is to ostensibly to allow a forceful takeover of the installations without conclusively settling the labour issues.

In a statement signed by NUEE’s Secretary, Joe Ajaero, claimed that only 68 per cent of the gratuity payment had been made, noting that “no member has received a dime of the pension funds savings into his/her Retirement Savings Account (RSA) as agreed.

Information from This Day was used in this report.