Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo made this known yesterday at a forum organised by the Operator of the Nigerian Electricity Market, ONEM, in Abuja.
He said: “We congratulate our brothers and sisters who have galvanised to invest in the power assets; this is an example of the Nigerian resilience. We hope to sign off protocols to handover the assets to the new owners next week. This shows that the Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) is going in for a big explosion.”
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Ambassador Godknows Igali, he said he was delighted by the level of progress made in the electric power privatisation programme.
He noted the Federal Government has proved wrong the western critics and institutions that cast doubt in the conclusion of the payment of the 75 per cent for the distribution and generation companies.
He said the completion of the payments shamed pessimists.
According to him, most western countries and institutions had, prior to the payment of the bid amounts in the ongoing privatisation, noted that the country may not achieve the expected outcomes.
Nebo said the forum was organised by the Market Operator, MO, to kick off the registration of licensed participants in NESI.
He said: “Recent events in the power sector have shown that Nigeria has the resilience to do the right things. Let me tell you that we have been meeting with western countries and they have continually expressed fears that the preferred bidders will not meet up with the payment for their acquired assets.
“They said nobody out of the preferred bidders will be able to pay for the power assets, but now that has been proved wrong because the bidders have paid and it has been successful all the way.”
He also noted that the western critics said the PHCN labour issues as one of the likely obstacles that may derail the privatisation, adding that the government has so far paid about 70 per cent of the severance benefits to PHCN workers.
“The big issue of labour also threatened the privatisation and they pointed at it but as at today, we have paid off at least 70 per cent of the workers of PHCN. We have paid off the severance components and will within next week start paying for the RSA (retirement savings account) components.”
Executive Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, an MO, Mr Evarestus Mogbo said the registration of participants in NESI was part of the rules.
He explained that the MO has been mandated to, among others, register and maintain and prepare reports to certify trading points for metering.
He said: “This is a formal registration of the market participants. It is a crucial stage in the sector and this registration process commences from this time; all licensed market participants can commence the registration. There are a number of conditions precedent required of the MO before the declaration of the transitional stage of the market.
“These include adequate metering of the trading points, provision of meter information register, development of market settlement software, preparation of market procedures and preparation of market registration/agreement formats as well as registration of NERC licensed market participants.”
– The Nation