26 August 2013, Lagos – The Federal Government has started working towards handing over the privatised Electricity Generation Companies, GENCOs, and the Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, to their new owners within the next couple of weeks.
The handing over is scheduled to take place after the resolution of outstanding issues associated with the privatisation, especially the completion of payment of severance benefits to workers and accurate metering of electricity consumers.
Others include the testing of the market operators’ settlement systems and processes, constitution of a dispute resolution panel to settle grievances in the sector and declaration of the Transition Electricity Market, TEM, in the sector.
Chairman, National Council of Privatisation, NCP, Technical Committee, Mr. Atedo Peterside, told our correspondent at the weekend that these issues would be considered in the next NCP meeting.
The meeting will also consider the next steps to be taken over the Enugu Disco, which preferred bidder, Interstate Electrics, failed to meet the August 21 payments deadline and the North South Power, which made a part payment for the Sapele Power station.
Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, said at the weekend that the commission, which responsibility is to advise the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedun Nebo, on the TEM would soon do so.
He assured that the commission was closely watching efforts targeted at resolving the outstanding matters.
“A lot of efforts were being made to resolve issues. For instance, the Federal Government has gone far in paying severance benefits to workers. We have also done a lot towards ensuring that consumers are properly metered.
“NERC has also started the process of putting in place the dispute resolution panel to settle disputes in the sector. We are optimistic that these issues would be completed in the next couple of weeks so that we can put our advice across to the government,” Amadi said.
Visits to the head offices of the Eko and Ikeja discos showed that business was going on as usual though there was a feeling of expectancy in the air as the workers said they were yet to be paid the severance benefits.
“We are watching and waiting. They have paid people in Abuja, but they are yet to settle us, so nothing is happening for now,” a senior staff who did not want his name mentioned, told our correspondent on the phone yesterday.
Special Assistant to the Minister of Power on Media, Mrs. Kande Daniel, however, explained that Nebo and his team were determined to ensure that all outstanding matters were resolved urgently.
She said: “The privatisation of the GENCOs and DISCOs has reached an irreversible point.
“This is not only the first time in Nigeria; it is also the first time in Africa that such large number of firms would be sold to private investors.
“The process has attracted a lot of commendations from different nations, especially those who started but have not yet been able to complete theirs.”
She stated that the minister of power would address the press early this week to ensure that preferred bidders, presently eager to take over, and the general public were well-informed about the issues lined up to ensure smooth transition from government to the private investors.
– National Mirror