By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Federal Government has assured prospective power investors that the five National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs) put up for sale will go on as planned as the present administration is determined to resuscitate the plants for the much needed power needs of the people.
Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the agency superintending the privatization of the five plants, Mr. Alex A. Okoh told reporters in Abuja on Monday, that the privatisation of the five NIPP plants was in line with the Bureau’s 2021 workplan as approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) which would be strictly adhered to.
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.
Okoh said based on the approval of the NCP, the Bureau engaged the services of a Technical Adviser who advertised for Expression of Interest (EOI) from prospective investors in May this year adding that the Bureau has so far received 36 EOIs as at the close of the advertised period for the preparation of the EOIs.
He added that the Evaluation Committee constituted by the Management of the Bureau, which also includes nominees of the NDPHC, was trained by the adviser on Tuesday, 29th June, 2021 and commenced work immediately on June 30, 2021 which would soon present its report to the Management and subsequently to the Technical Committee of the NCPC for approval.
Giving the background to the privatisation process of the plants, Okoh said the initial process was for the ten NIPP plants which commenced in 2012 and that by November 2013 bidders had submitted technical and financials proposals for their privatisation.
“In the Request for Proposal (RfP), the bidders were informed that they would be required to pay the full purchase consideration for the acquisition of 80% equity in the NIPP generation companies”, he stated, adding that an approval was given through the Niger Delta Power Holding Company in February 2016, to proceed with a phased implementation of the programme by negotiating with the Preferred Bidders of the four (4) 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 but that 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 workplan, subsequently presented a memo to Council at its 2nd meeting for the year 2021 held on Thursday, 22ndApril, 2021 for approval of the transaction as well as an expedited transaction process which Council approved the privatisation of the five NIPP Plants.
The Director General further said that the NDPHC on its part had in a letter dated 7th April, 2021, notified the Bureau of the approval at its 45th Board Meeting held on 1st April, 2021 for a joint termination of the previous (2013) privatisation process, this also included the approval to commence the re-privatisation of the plants.