The federal government has disclosed that plans are in the pipeline to start the physical hand over of the successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to the new owners within the next 30 days.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, spoke to journalists yesterday after a meeting with Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
According to him, the physical take-over of PHCN by the successful bidders will be preceded by a symbolic presentation of the ownership documents to them.
The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) had last week approved the sale of the 10 distribution companies (Discos) and four out of five generation companies (Gencos) carved out the soon-to-be defunct PHCN.
Igali said he was optimistic that the future remains bright for Nigerian electricity consumers, because power supply would improve as it was being witnessed in the telecommunications sector.
“There is progress; we are in the last stages. There will be formal ceremony to hand over the documents to the new owners but there will be no physical handover until towards the end of this year.
“We are starting with handing over of the formal documentation, that is the protocol ceremony for Mr. President to preside over after which, we have one month to undertake all cropping issues, for example, labour matters.
“We are making very good progress in ensuring that all workers are paid. When you are dealing with paying about 40,000 workers, you have to be careful because it is not something you rush into.”
While assessing the power sector after the inauguration of the power master plan, Igali noted that just as the private sector intervened in the telecommunications and banking sectors to provide better services, Nigerians should be sure of a better deal in electricity supply henceforth.
“Let’s give them a chance and see how they are going to transform the power sector, let us be optimistic and hopeful. So far, we have done well with the process, we have been transparent and now we are in the last point of handing over to the private sector.
“In the short term, there will be appreciable result and when we get to the medium, the country will be better for it,” Igali stressed.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, House Committee on Power, Hon. Patrick Ikhariale, has asked for increased funding for the power sector despite the federal government’s privatisation of 17 successor generation and distribution companies of the PHCN.
Ikhariale led committee members on an oversight function to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), where he noted that the power sector remains the engine of the nation’s economy.
He explained that if the country could get it electricity challenges sorted out, about 70 per cent of the social problems bedevilling the country would have been solved.
“The power sector has become the engine room and very pivotal to the development of the nation’s economy. It is in line with this that members of the committee and by extension the National Assembly have been showing sufficient understanding in ensuring that the president’s transformation agenda, particularly the power sector roadmap is achieved.
We are all living witnesses to the fact that as we speak today the power sector is going through some transformation. Privatising the power sector is one sure way that we all believe we can meet the required levels of generation, transmission and distribution,” he said.
Information from This Day was used in this report.