The Federal Government on Thursday said the preferred bidders for the power generation and distribution companies who met the deadline for the payment of the 75 per cent balance of their bid prices could now take over the companies.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said the government had recorded substantial compliance in payment by the preferred bidders.
He said in a statement made available to our correspondent, “By the close of transaction on Wednesday night, all preferred bidders had paid up, except for the Enugu Distribution Company, while the preferred bidder for the Sapele Power Station had made substantial part-payment.
“The completion of payment now entitles the preferred bidders to take full possession of the 15 PHCN unbundled entities, which include 10 distribution companies and five generation companies.”
The minister’s statement confirms the story published by The PUNCH on Thursday that 13 investors had completed payments for the power firms.
Nebo described the development as a great milestone in the power sector reform roadmap that should give hope to all Nigerians and inspire confidence in the programme.
He said the government would soon formally declare the Transition Electricity Market to enable the investors to commence business in earnest and further drive the process.
He reassured electricity consumers and investors of the government’s resolve to pursue the reform process to the end, stressing that the emerging transition market would be meticulously monitored to protect the interest of Nigerians and the investors.
According to him, the stability of the national grid is being enhanced to ensure an effective transmission of the power being generated in the new dispensation.
He added that efforts were also on to provide more electricity off-grid, especially for rural areas, and noted that subsidy for low income electricity consumers in the tariff structure would be sustained.
The minister, however, did not state the amount generated by the Federal Government following the payment by the bidders on Wednesday.
Efforts to get the total sum from the Ministry of Power were not successful as senior officials contacted by our correspondent stated that the government was not ready to make that public.
“What people should know now is that the bidders have paid and have met the deadline, the total amount generated as of yesterday (Wednesday) is not to be disclosed now,” a senior official at the ministry told our correspondent.
A text message sent to the mobile phone of the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, to ascertain the sum generated from the 75 per cent balance payment by the investors on Wednesday was not replied. He did not answer calls to his line as well.
The spokesperson for the BPE, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, also refused to answer his calls after promising to get back to our correspondent earlier in the day.
Information from Punch was used in this report.