Govt makes $2.525bn from PHCN sales

Acting-Director-General-BPE-Mr-Benjamin-Dikki30 September 2013, The Federal Government has made $2,525,824,534 from the sale of 14 successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

President Goodluck Jonathan will today present the licences to the owners of the successor companies.

A statement yesterday in Abuja by the Director of Communications, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, said: “So far, of the 14 successor companies scheduled for handover, US$2, 525,824,534 was realised as proceeds. Of the amount, US$1,256,000,000 came from the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) while the Generation Companies (GENCOs) raked in US$1,269,824,534.”

The BPE said the Federal Government set aside about N384 billion to settle labour liabilities.

The agency said the President would present the share certificates and licences to the 15 new owners of the PHCN successor companies who have fully paid their bids.

“The presentation, which is scheduled to hold today at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, is part of the build-up to the activities for the 53rd Independence anniversary of Nigeria,” the statement said.

It quoted the Director-General of the BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, as saying: “This handover is a culmination of 14 years of painstaking effort by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), the BPE and other key stakeholders to reform and liberalise Nigeria’s electricity industry, which began in 1999.”

The Electric Power Sector Reform Implementation Committee (EPIC) was set up in 2000 with the mandate to find legal and regulatory frameworks for the sector.

This gave birth to the National Electric Power Policy, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in September 2001, followed by the passage of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005.

Electricity workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) have vowed to resist the planned handover of the PHCN today.

They said the Federal Government should first settle all agreements with Labour before the handover.

The NUEE and SSAEAC said they would picket the PHCN headquarters in Abuja and Lagos today, if the government hands over the power companies to their investors without abiding by the agreement with Labour.

The unions’ leadership yesterday directed the members across the country to resist the handover of PHCN’s facilities to investors.

In a statement by its General Secretary, Comrade Joe Ajaero, the NUEE directed its members to resist what he called the forcible takeover of PHCN.

The statement reads: “Further to our earlier circular to resist the forcible takeover of PHCN, it is now clearer that the Federal Government is bent on handing over PHCN’s facilities to investors without conclusively settling labour issues.

“This position of government is not only unfair and condemnable but is a direct affront on the economic, social and physical well-being of the workers and their families.”

Rights activist and President of the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), Mallam Shehu Sani, said yesterday the desire by Nigerians to have uninterrupted power supply should not be done at the expense of casting darkness on their lives.

In a statement in Kaduna, Sani noted that the Federal Government’s proposed handing over of the PHCN to investors today is another step towards impoverishing Nigerians and selling off the nation’s assets.

He said the privatisation of the Nigeria Airways and the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) by the government was disastrous.

The activist said President Jonathan would go down in history as one who approved, execute and presided over the disposition of the nation’s assets.

He said: “The privatisation of the PHCN and the scheduled hand over to ‘investors’ on today stands condemned. The exercise is nothing but a criminal robbery of our collective assets by a few bourgeoisie elite…”

– The Nation

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