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Power Industry Decentralisation To Be Completed Next Year – Barth Nnaji

By on November 29, 2011

The decentralisation of the power industry is expected to be completed next year, Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, said yesterday.

He also said the present administration has succeeded in adding about 1,300 MW of power to the national grid since inception.

The minister spoke at the opening of the electric power transaction and industry review conference organised by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) at the Banquete Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the process of transferring government equity in 17 of the 18 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies to core investors, PHCN workers and state governments would be completed before the end of the second quarter of next year.

Already, the  National Council of Privatisation has prequalified 212 firms to bid for the successor companies. About 331 Expressions of Interest were received when the BPE called for the 18 successor companies.

The minister also confirmed that the bidding companies are from 38 countries, an indication of the enormous interest, the international community has shown in the reform process.

He said in the post-privatisation era, private sector is expected to hold 70 per cent equity; the Federal Government will hold 18 per cent; state governments 10 per cent and PHCN workers two per cent.

Nnaji, who spoke with State House correspondents after the event, added that the exercise is expected to be concluded by the end of the second quarter of 2012.

” “The Federal Government will still be there and state government will now come in and become part of it and workers will take equity position, particularly in distribution companies.

“The expectation is that in the post privatisation, 70 per cent of the equity for the distribution will go to private companies, the Federal Government may retain up to 18 per cent, state may retain 10 per cent but can buy five per cent from the private investors and the workers will have two per cent,” the minister added.

Nnaji also said the ongoing power sector would create greater employment and business opportunities for Nigerians as has been seen with the liberalisation of the telecommunication sector.

Speaking further on the  administration’s  plan for PHCN workers in all the arrangements.

He said: “We have in addition set aside enough funds for the swift payment of retirement benefits to all the PHCN staff when transfer of the ownership of the PHCN assets takes place.

“Despite the considerable economic challenges facing the nation, President Jonathan graciously approved last May a 50 per cent salary raise for PHCN workers.

“And he has also approved that some 11,000 PHCN employees who have for years been working as casual workers be converted to regular staff.