The payment processes from the sale of the 15 power assets unbundled from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) is expected to be concluded this week as Interstate Electrics, the preferred bidder for the Enugu Distribution Company is expected to make an outstanding payment by Friday.
The company was said to have paid $12 million last Thursday, out of an outstanding balance of $93 million, being 75 per cent of the transaction value it was expected to pay for Enugu Disco on or before August 21.
Promoted by multi-billionaire businessman, Mr. Emeka Offor, Interstate had failed to meet the August 21 deadline for the payment of 75 per cent balance for the asset.
It was gathered, however, that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had given the company a 20 working-day grace period for payment to be completed.
A reliable source at the BPE told THISDAY Monday, that there had been intense pressure on both BPE and the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) to invite Eastern Electrics-the reserved bidder for the Enugu disco, which would be expected to pay the reserve price of $126 million.
It was learnt that Offor’s immense influence had forced the privatisation agencies to consider allowing for a grace period.
It was further learnt that government had also been cautious on inviting the reserve bidder at this point.
However, the source told THISDAY that technical hitches arising from banking bureaucracies, which had caused Interstate to default in meeting the deadline would be resolved latest by Friday.
The BPE source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the transaction, said: “We not only want to avoid legal tussles, but the feared inability of some noise making entities to muzzle the required organisational ability and finances when the chips are down. They have been making noise and blackmailing government in sections of the media, but government is already aware of the tension among states that have supposedly come together to form consortium.
“What is their pedigree in business? How many businesses have they successfully run before now? Anyway, the controversies will end shortly when the payment is announced shortly.”
Meanwhile, the South-east Forum for Peace and Justice (SEFJ) Monday, condemned what it called the “dog-eat-dog” mentality of Eastern Electrics over its haste in paying the reserve price for the disco.
The group, in a statement signed by its President and General Secretary, Chief Osita Orji and Chukwuemeka Izunaso respectively, said the development speaks volume about the Igbo race.
“They like to unnecessarily tear the race apart. The winner, Sir Emeka Offor is an Igbo man, and the so-called reserve bidders, including Prof. Bart Nnaji are also Igbos. Why should one of them be covertly working against the other through the media? You have bidded and lost and what you should do is to support your kinsman like other tribes do. We don’t understand this unnecessary republicanism,” the group stated.
Information from This Day was used in this report.