By Ndubuisi Francis
No fewer than 36 investors have submitted Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for five power plants built under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) slated for privatisation by the federal government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
BPE Director General, Mr. Alex Okoh told journalists in Abuja yesterday that the privatisation of the five power plants was in line with the Bureau’s 2021 workplan as approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), which would be strictly followed.
He disclosed that the five plants slated for privatisation would be disposed off as planned, in line with President Muhhamdu Buhari’s administration’s determination to resuscitate the power plants and put them to full use for the much-needed power needs of the economy.
The affected 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 and advertised for the Expression of Interest (EOI) in three national dailies in May from which it 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 Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) would soon present its report to the management and subsequently to the Technical Committee of the NCP
Giving the background to the privatisation process of the plants, Okoh said the initial process was for the 10 plants, which commenced in 2012.
He disclosed that by November 2013, bidders had submitted technical and financials proposals for their privatisation.
He said: “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 per cent equity in the NIPP generation companies.
He added that an approval was given through the 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, Okoh noted that the transaction was eventually stalled largely due to the liquidity challenges in the power sector, amongst other factors.
He added 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 BPE 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 April, 2021 for approval of the transaction as well as an expedited transaction process which the NCP approved the privatisation of the five NIPPs.