By: Sunday Oyewole
Fourteen new owners of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies on Monday formally received their share certificates and licenses to operate the Generation Companies (Gencos) and Distribution Companies (Discos).
Presenting the licenses to the representatives of the core investors, President Goodluck Jonathan expressed delight that the transformation of the power sector was gradually reaching logical conclusion.
According to him, the formal takeover of the Gencos: Geregu, Ughelli, Olorunsogo and Egbin Power plants, as well as Kainji and Shiroro Hydro electric plants and the Discos-Abuja, Benin, Eko, Ibadan, Ikeja, Jos, Kano, potrt Harcourt and Yola, marked significant milestone in the nation’s quest for a private sector-driven electricity industry.
President Jonathan commended members of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) headed by Vice President Namadi Sambo and staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) for a job well done.
He said the process leading to the privatization of the power sector has been ‘adjudged by both local and foreign investors as transparent, well organized, and fair”.
The President however admitted that it was not smooth all through, saying there are challenges that are being addressed, especially on labour issue.
“It is important to say to our labour partners, who we know to be patriotic Nigerians, that they should not nurse feeling of displacement, but dwell on the tremendous possibilities that the revitalization of the sector holds for them and the future,” he said.
He seized the opportunity to restate his administration’s commitment to “providing all elements that are necessary for “our private sector partners to succeed in providing Nigerians with uninterrupted power supply.
“We do not expect the sector to be revitalized overnight but we can look forward to a better time soon as we have seen in the telecommunication and banking sectors.
“To the Nigerian people who have demonstrated such great patience and confidence, putting up often with darkness, noisy power generating sets, the related pollution and the daily disruption in their lives, I say better days are coming. Today, we embark in a new journey, a journey that will usher us to a destination of enduring gain and fulfillment”, he said.
Speaking earlier, Vice President Sambo, described the formal handing over of the Gencos and Discos as “a new beginning as it marks another major landmark in the implementation of the transformation agenda.
“Today, I am proud to say that with the support, encouragement, dogged determination and commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan, we were able to pull through to this stage of the process”.
Col Sani Bello who spoke on behalf of the new investors had this to say, “On behalf of all the winners, we shall work with relevant agencies to ensure stable power within reasonable time. It has been a very hectic process to get to this point. I will like to assure Mr. President that we shall not fail.
It will be recalled that the journey towards the complete privatization of the powers sector started in 1999 when the National Council on Privatization (NCP) constituted the Electricity Power Sector Implementation Committee (EPIC) with a mandate to undertake a comprehensive study and review of the entire industry.