BPE: Takeover of four DisCos concluded successfully

BPE: Takeover of four DisCos concluded successfully
The takeover of four electrical Distribution Companies (DisCos), including those in Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt, has reportedly been completed satisfactorily, according to the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE).

The challenge in the takeover of the Benin DisCo is being handled, according to Mr. Alex Okoh, director general of BPE, who made this disclosure in a presentation at an earlier Tuesday virtual meeting of the National Council on Privatization (NCP).

The vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, stated that the establishment of a board for the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) will strengthen ongoing efforts to address liabilities relating to tariff shortfalls for distribution companies, among other difficulties affecting Nigeria's power sector.

In his remarks delivered virtually on Friday at the inauguration of the new board of NELMCO, Osinbajo provided the guarantee.

Since the initial board was established in 2013 and promptly disbanded, the corporation has operated without a board that has been properly constituted.

“Today’s inauguration marks an important milestone in the bid to resolve the liabilities relating to tariff shortfalls in the power sector (specifically for Distribution Companies), and to provide a veritable mechanism for managing the very dynamic nature of the liquidity challenges of the power sector in Nigeria,” the Vice President said, according a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said “this ceremony formally brings on board the invaluable skills and experience of notable and highly respected personalities as members of the Board of NELMCO.”

On the expectations for the new board, the vice president told the members that, “as a board, you are expected to make conscious and deliberate efforts to develop appropriate strategies to facilitate the successful conclusion of the outstanding pre-privatisation issues of the defunct PHCN, and ensure an effective implementation of NELMCO’s additional mandate to resolve the tariff shortfall problems of the Electricity Distribution Companies.”

“In view of the challenges ahead, you are expected to draw extensively on our experience over the years, to continue to give credence to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s economic development programme in a transparent, sustainable, credible and acceptable manner.

“The Board is required to take appropriate steps to also ensure that the interests of the various segments of our society, particularly the ordinary citizens, are protected in the implementation of NELMCO’s mandate,” the VP added.

On the board’s mandate, Prof. Osinbajo charged members “to diligently carry out the responsibilities assigned to the board in accordance with the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association (MEMART) of the Company.”

Some of the provisions of the Company's MEMART include: Assuming and administering the stranded debts of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Plc in accordance with the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005; Managing post-privatisation liabilities in the power sector as directed by the National Council on Privatisation, or any authorised agency of the federal government from time to time in accordance with the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.

Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Board Chairperson and Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, responded on behalf of the members, assuring the vice president of the board's readiness to resolve tariff deficits and related concerns in the power sector as quickly as possible.

Other members of the board include the minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu; director general of BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh; director general of Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha; managing director of NELMCO, Mr. Bayo Fagbemi; Mr. Muhammad Aliyu Jumma’a; Mr. Olufunso Olutola Olukoga; Dr. Chinedum Orisakwe; Mojoyinoluwa Dekalu-Thomas and Dr. Nurain Hassan Ibrahim.

Meanwhile, BPE director general, Mr Alex Okoh, in his report to the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), also made a presentation on the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant, inviting NCP to note steps taken by the Bureau to fast track the process.

The NCP is chaired by the vice president who was represented at the meeting by the minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who is the vice chair of Council.

Okoh then presented for approval a proposal to amend the Procedures Manual of the BPE, especially in the areas of legal framework; reform activities; pre-transaction activities; project advisory and delivery team; receipt of technical and financial transaction strategies, and opening and evaluation of technical proposals, among others.