By Bassey Udo
The National Council on Privatization (NCP) on Friday approved the guidelines issued by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) to banks and lenders for the sale of 60 percent of their equity holdings in Kano, Benin, Kaduna, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt electricity distribution companies’ assets.
The Director General of BPE, Alex Okoh confirmed the issuance of the guidelines to banks while making a presentation at the sixth meeting of the NCP in Abuja on Friday.
The restructuring of the Kano, Benin, Kaduna, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt DISCos, has been ongoing, with the Council being informed that the notifications for the change of Directors for all the DISCos had been filed at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for approval.
During the meeting, the BPE DG also presented a memo seeking approval for the payment of about N1.371billion for the settlement of outstanding redundancy benefits owed the ex- workers of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc (SAHCO).
In his presentation, the DG of BPE informed the Council of the notice of “peaceful protest” received from ex-workers of SAHCO, who are also members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), on account of the non-payment of their outstanding severance entitlements after the disengagement of the workers from the company following its privatization in 2009.
After deliberation on the matter, the Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the approval for the outstanding severance entitlements of the ex-workers to be paid in a bid to provide succour to the affected ex-workers of aviation ground handling service provider.
During the meeting, the Council also received an update on the development of a 1,650 megawatts (MW) Hydro Power Plant in Makurdi, Benue State, particularly the inauguration of the Project Steering Committee and the proposed publication on the Expression of Interest for the engagement of a Transaction Adviser for the project.
The BPE also presented an update on the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant, by informing the Council that Requests for Qualification (RfQs) were received from 11 Consortia, out of which three (NSP Consortium, Mainstream Energy and Africa Plus Partners) were shortlisted to present proposals for the concession.
Further updates, the BPE said, were received on the sale of five National Independent Power Projects (NIPP) Power Plants, particularly the engagements with the Nigerian Governors Forum on the NIPP transaction, and the resolution by the governors to constitute a committee to review the transaction and revert to the Bureau.
The Council expressed satisfaction with the BPE’s handling of the engagements with the governors on the sale of the NIPP and the Federal Government’s 40% interest in the Aba Ring-Fenced area.
Also, in attendance at the meeting were Council members, including Ministers of Power, Abubakar Aliyu; Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; representatives of Federal Ministry of Justice, heads of relevant MDAs and other senior government officials.
Meanwhile, the VP received the management of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) led by its Chairman, Mohammed Bello Shehu.
In his remarks, Shehu appealed to the VP to support the commission’s drive to digitize its operations, particularly the efficient allocation and disbursement of revenues to the 3 tiers of government in accordance with the Act setting up the commission.
The Chairman noted that paucity of funds was affecting the commission’s oversight on revenue generating government agencies and general migration from manual to digital operations, while he also outlined the implications of the development on the revenues of the federation and the economy.