21 March 2014, Abuja – Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has said the Federal Government is working to get the privatised power firms listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, in two-and-a-half years.
According to him, getting the companies listed as soon as possible will strengthen the capital market, solve the funding challenges faced by the firms and help check vandalism and sabotage of equipment in the power sector.
Nebo spoke in Lagos on Thursday when he visited the NSE to discuss ways in which the Exchange could play a bigger role in the power sector transformation.
He explained that the privatised firms had a timeline of five years to list on the Exchange, but negotiations were on to fast-track the process.
The minister said, “The purchase agreement between the buyers and the seller, the Federal Government of Nigeria, is that they will not sell to the public until they have owned these companies for five years.
“However, when you look at the situation here, the Nigerian Stock Exchange expects at least three years of due diligence, paperwork and submission of annual reports before a company is listed.
“I don’t see why five years was put in order than the fact that the government did not want people to strip these companies and then sell the scrap to the general public.
“Be that as it may, with the things that are afoot today, we are encouraging a dialogue between the successor companies, privatised from the PHCN and the government of Nigeria, especially the National Council on Privatisation, to see if these five years can be negotiated downward so that within the next two-and-a-half years, we will be able to see them go to the stock market.”
Since the privatisation, the successor companies have faced a myriad of issues, from funding challenges to inadequate gas supply to the power generating plants.
But Nebo said all the issues were being addressed.
He said, “Government is already addressing some of the issues; the major issue actually is financing for expansion and consolidation; and that is where the stock market is very critical. The government has even organised a global financing summit that attracted more than 350 non-Nigerians about a month ago.
“Other constraints have to do with generation of more power because the more power you generate, the more power is sold, the more money is made by the generation companies, the transmission company and the distribution companies. So, we need to generate more power and the challenge there is the issue of gas.
“But the government is working very hard to make sure that at the end of this year and the beginning of next year, there is a match — no longer a mismatch — in the availability of gas and the needs of the generating companies.
“Again, with regards to other challenges like transmission, the government is working very hard towards strengthening and expanding the transmission infrastructure to get much more power than they are getting now and saturate the entire country with power supply.”
– The Punch