18 September 2013, Abiuja – Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo has reiterated that the end of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, is close, saying that almost all the staff have been paid their due severance benefits.
Nebo stated this while fielding question from journalists in Abuja, stressing that what is left now is payment of independent retirement benefits. Nebo maintained that Federal Government was actually ready to hand over while many of the investing companies are also ready to take over the assets of the PHCN.
“We have come very close to the end of PHCN. Basically, almost all of the staff have been paid. What is left is independent retirement benefit that is going to be paid into their accounts. We are actually ready to hand over and many of the companies are willing to take over.
The only thing is that the Minister needs to declare a transitional electricity market and that will be done when all the conditions precedent to that declaration have been put in place “I can tell you that PHCN has almost ceased to exist now.
Once the Transitional Electricity Market is declared in a few weeks time, that is the end of PHCN. Functionally, it is ceasing to exist, but there must be a formal hand-over and once that takes place, they will cease to exist”.
It is recalled that Director- General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, PBE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, had stated that barring any unforeseen circumstances Federal Government will hand over privatised successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to private investors on September 21, 2013. He disclosed that the PHCN privatisation was expected to earn the Federal Government about $2 billion.
Dikki said: “To purchase this Power Holding Company, over $2 billion will be paid by the bidders, and that is because the investors can see a clear investment horizon.
They don’t have to go and lobby anybody, all they require is to meet the technical requirement, go to the regulatory authority, apply for licence and they are limited by their own ingenuity and their access to the capital.
“When they pay by September 21, we will hand over the companies to them or anybody who pays earlier and then they begin to operate. “Labour issues have been resolved and the implementation committee on settlement of the PHCN staff terminal benefits commenced payment of N118 billion to the over 20,000 PHCN staff, at the beginning of this month”.
The BPE boss said the privatisation programme of the Federal Government had significantly opened up the Nigerian economy by creating the right atmosphere for greater private sector participation in several key sectors.
He said the telecommunications sector stood out in terms of attracting massive foreign investment, which he put at about $40 billion to date. He said: “The Nigerian economy is becoming more and more liberalised. So, we in the Bureau of Public Enterprise are not surprised.
That is what we have been working for. “That is the benefit of the reform, which the Bureau of Public Enterprises has been spearheading and also in consonance with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration”. “What this transformation agenda is doing is to create an enabling environment for the private sector investment in the country and that has given rise to reform activities in various sectors.”
– National Mirror