Sambo, who is also chairman of the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, disclosed this in Abuja as he warned the new owners of the privatised Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, successor companies that government would sanction any of them who failed to deliver on the agreement reached with i.
He spoke as the government handed over the N480 billion PHCN assets, comprising four generating and 10 distribution companies to the private investors.
The handover was the culmination of many months of efforts by the government to improve electricity supply to Nigerians across the country.
The generation companies that were handed over to their new owners include the Ughelli Plant, Geregu I Plant, Kainji Hydro and Shiroro Hydro. The distribution companies are Ikeja, Eko, Ibadan, Jos, Kano, Yola, Abuja, Benin, Enugu and Port Harcourt.
At the ceremony to mark the handover of Abuja Distribution Company to KANN Consortium Utility, Sambo noted that the day was historic as it was the biggest divestment of public utility in Africa.
Sambo, who was represented by the Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, assured Nigerians that the reforms being implemented for the sector by the government would increase consumers’ access to electricity which will in turn stimulate economic growth.
According to him, “the participation of the private sector would bring about higher generation capacities through the provision of more efficient and cost effective power stations and improvements in electric power distribution, in the areas of billing and collection, and transmission networks.
“Such capital injection and efficiency have been inadequate in PHCN over the years, resulting in gross inadequate power supply with attendant negative effects on the citizenry and the economy at large.”
Sambo noted that the challenge facing the electricity sector in Nigeria is enormous, but said government was equally convinced that the opportunities in the sector are enormous.
“The government is committed to creating the enabling environment that would incentivise private sector investors to take on these challenges and the opportunities therein to ensure quality and cost effective service delivery to the Nigerian electricity sector,” he added.
Briefing newsmen shortly after the handover, Nebo had assured all PHCN workers that government would not short change any of them, disclosing that about N360 billion have been spent on the settlement of the workers.
He noted that remaining N30b needed to complete the payment was ready and government would adhere the agreement it reached electricity workers union on Thursday night that paved the way for the handover to take place.