.As 36 investors express interests
Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex A. Okoh, has said that there is no going back on the plan by the Federal Government to dispose of the five National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs) put up for sale to prospective investors in the power sector.
Okoh said the commitment to go ahead with the plan was part of President Muhamadu Buhari administration’s determination to resuscitate the power plants and put them to full use for the much-needed power needs of the people and growth of the nation.
Okoh said on Monday that the privatization of the five plants was in line with the Bureau’s 2021 work plan as approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).
Recalled that the House of Representatives had last week Thursday suspended the sales of the plants for four weeks until it concluded investigations into the ownership of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and resolve issues surrounding the five plants.
But Okoh, in an interaction with ENERGY TIMES on Monday, said the bureau would go ahead with the plans while the House can also go ahead with its investigation.
When asked that the five plants had previously offered with successful bidders emerged in 2014, Okoh responded: “So they should wait for this process. You can’t judge success before exam. And by the way, 36 investors have already responded to our request for Expression of Interest. We need to put the interest of the nation first always”, he sated
The five NIPP plants are Benin Generation Company Limited at Ihovba, Edo State; Calabar Generation Company Limited, Cross River State; Geregu Generation Company Limited, Kogi State; Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited, Ogun State. and Omotosho Generation Company Limited, Ondo State.
The BPE DG said based on the approval of the NCP, the Bureau engaged the services of a Technical Adviser and advertised for the Expression of Interest (EOI) in three national dailies on Thursday, May 6, 2021, from which so far, the Bureau has received 36 EOIs as at the close of the advertised period for the preparation of the EOIs.
The Evaluation Committee constituted by the Management of the Bureau, he said, also includes nominees of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC).
Giving the background to the privatization process of the plants, Okoh said the initial process was for the ten NIPP plants, which commenced in 2012, adding that by November 2013 bidders had submitted technical and financials proposals for their privatisation.
“In the Request for Proposal (RfP), the bidders were informed they would be required to pay the full purchase consideration for the acquisition of 80% equity in the NIPP generation companies”, he stated
Approval was given through the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) in February 2016, to proceed with a phased implementation of the programme by negotiating with the Preferred Bidders of the four NIPP generation companies with the least challenges.
However, the Director-General noted that the transaction was eventually stalled largely due to the liquidity challenges in the power sector, amongst other factors.
However, he said the challenges are currently being addressed comprehensively by the Federal Government through various programmes, like the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), the World Bank Distribution Intervention Programme (DISREP), the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank’s interventions in addressing the sector’s payments management as well as the bottlenecks between the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
He said with the earlier termination of the NIPP transaction in accordance with the provisions of the RfP, the Bureau after securing the approval of the NCP of its 2021 work plan, subsequently presented a memo to Council at its 2nd meeting for the year 2021 held on Thursday, April 22, 2021, for approval of the transaction as well as an expedited transaction process which Council approved the privatization of the five NIPP Plants.
The Director-General further stated that the NDPHC on its part had in a letter dated April 7, 2021, notified the Bureau of the approval at its 45th Board Meeting held on April 1, 2021 for a joint termination of the previous (2013) privatisation process. This also included the approval to commence the pre-privatization of the plants.