PHCN privatisation to end next year – Nnaji

7 September 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian government says it will conclude the final phase of privatisation of the electricity monopoly, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) next year.

Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, disclosed these in Abuja at a special ministerial media briefing to mark President Goodluck Jonathan’s 100 days in office.

He said the conclusion of the process will enable the successor companies to take charge in ensuring stable and reliable supply of electricity across the country.

According to him, the government had also empowered the chief executive officers of the successor companies to take certain decisions to develop the sector instead of travelling to Abuja to get clearance.

Nnaji noted that there had been requests for proposals and information memoranda to prospective investors interested in acquiring the successor companies created from the unbundling of the PHCN.

He explained that there was no longer need depending on promises made in the past, but that the Federal Government was putting in place practical promises that could be delivered by solving the problems on ground.

The minister said what happened in the past, was not so much about funding as the sector was critically underfunded during the military administrations.

On the PHCN staff making communities to contribute money to purchase transformers for them with specific reference to stadium quarters in Suleja, the minister said the allegation would be investigated and that the Chief Executive of the Abuja PHCN who oversees Suleja would be summoned for explanations.

He warned electricity consumers to be wary of falling into the bait of being made to pay for transformers, saying “when there is such incident, you should report to us and we will take action.”

The minister said plans have been concluded to add 1, 000 megawatts of electricity to the current megawatts being generated by the end of 2011. These would be generated from the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) that would be on stream by end of year.

He said, at the moment, the national power grid is on 230 KVA and 130 KVA network. That would be increased to 750KVA.

The minister also revealed that the Federal Government would not commit further funds to the revival of the moribund Oji River hydro power plant located in Enugu state.

According to him, there are plans to prioritise government developmental agenda by discarding any plans or suggestions to finance the revival of the power plant.

Nnaji said the government will rather focus its efforts at the construction and inauguration of a new 1000 Megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Enugu.

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