The Group Managing Director, Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has expressed confidence in the private investors behind the newly privatised assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
He said the bank had analysed the new investors and was satisfied that they were bankable.
In view of this, the managing director said the bank would continue to lend to players in the power sector.
Emefiele, who spoke with our correspondent on the sidelines of the physical handing over of the Eko Electricity Distribution Company recently in Lagos, said, “Zenith Bank as a leading player in the Nigerian energy sector naturally played some roles in the privatisation exercise of the power assets.
“We are thankful to the Federal Government for taking a bold step to ensure that these assets eventually moved to the hands of private people, that banks can begin to lend money to the private enterprises for the betterment of our country, Nigeria.
“We have analysed the owners of the newly privatised power companies, not just West Power & Gas but the others. We have very strong confidence in them.
“In any case, the assets they have taken over are core assets that we think have strong cash flows and I think they should be able to run them well.”
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, had on Monday said eleven Deposit Money Banks had disbursed the sum of N109.3bn to 20 companies from the N300bn Power and Airlines Intervention Fund provided by the central bank.
Sanusi said the provision of the much needed long tenor, fixed interest fund through the N300bn PAIF was essential in catalysing private sector investments in the power sector.
He said, “The CBN has provided the much needed long tenor, fixed and single-digit interest rate funds for power investments through the N300bn Power and Airlines Intervention Fund in March 2010.
“This is to fast-track the development of electric power projects through the provision of the much needed long tenor, fixed interest funds to catalyse private sector investments in the power sector. As of September 30, 2013, the sum of N109.3bn has been disbursed to 20 companies by 11 Deposit Money Banks.
“The fund has, among other things, financed the construction of 125-kilometre gas-to-power pipeline and the generation of about 800MW of power, mostly by manufacturing companies principally to guarantee stable and reliable power supply, and to free the national grid to other users.”
Information from Punch was used in this report.