Interstate Electrics may lose Enugu Disco

Dikki and Offor

Dikki, DG, BPE and Emeka Offor, promoter of Interstate Electrics

12 September 2013, Abuja – The successful bidder for Enugu Distribution Company, Interstate Electrics, may lose its bid, according to the feelers from the meeting of the Technical Sub Committee of the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, Wednesday.

The bid, it was learnt, may be awarded to the reserve bidder, Eastern Electric.

The Sub Committee met yesterday to re-evaluate the issues relating to Enugu Distribution Company, Disco.

After the meeting, it was reliably gathered that 10 out of the 11 members voted against the handing over the successor company to the successful bidder until further investigations on the company are concluded.

According to sources close to the committee, the position of majority of the members was predicated on the strategic location of the Enugu Disco and its crucial roles, which the members believed were crucial, to be left in the hands of a company which might not be able to transform the plant.

It was also learnt that committee members expressed doubts about the financial and technical capabilities of the company to run the Disco, having struggled to meet the payment requirement for the bid after an extension was granted to it, following the expiration of the deadline for payment.

A source said: “Members of the Technical Committee reasoned that if the company had to take advantage of an extension window to make payment, then it may not be able to manage the Disco if handed over to it.

“The Disco is very crucial to the entire South- East and members believe that its handover must ensure that the purpose of the privatisation of the firm is achieved.”

It was gathered that a meeting of the NCP may be convened as soon as the Director- General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE, Benjamin Dikki, returns from his overseas trip to deliberate on the outcome of the meeting of the Technical Committee and ratify it.

“The DG is the secretary of the NCP and he is the one that has the powers to convene a meeting. He will do so as soon as he returns from his trip on Friday. And from all indications, the NCP may not go against the decisions of the Technical Committee,” the source added.

Interstate Electrics, which won the bid for Enugu plant, completed the payment of a balance $94 million for the Disco last Friday, a few days after it took advantage of the available window for the completion of outstanding balance as spelt out in the Share Purchase Agreement, SPA.

It was gathered that prior to the payment, there had been intense lobbying within government circles for the Disco to be handed over to the reserve bidder, following the inability of Interstate to make full payment at the expiration of the deadline.

Meanwhile, Dikki has announced that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, successor companies would be handed over to their new owners from October 1, stressing that with the power sector in private hands, the overall goals of the privatisation of the entities in terms of improved power supply, agricultural and industrial productive activities and national development would be achieved.

Dikki, who gave the assurance at the Breakfast Meeting of the Lagos Business School yesterday in his paper entitled; “Power Privatisation: Objectives, Current Status, Prospects & Challenges,” said Nigeria was blessed with the largest reserves of natural gas in the world but that necessary investments were needed to be made to access the gas to produce power.

The DG, who spoke through the Acting Director, Electric Power, Ibrahim Babagana, appealed for understanding among Nigerians as the power sector reform would not bring about immediate changes due to the capital intensive nature of the sector, the time required to achieve results and that construction of new generation capacity would take two to five years to achieve most of the results envisaged.

– National Mirror

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