Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: FG to Reap N200 Billion From Sale of PHCN Companies

Abuja — The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) says over N200 billion will be realised from the privatisation of the 18 successor companies created from the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The information is contained in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by BPE's Spokesman, Mr Chukuma Nwokoh.

The statement quoted the Director-General of BPE, Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa, as saying during a management retreat held in Abuja that over N1.2 billion had so far been collected as privatisation proceeds for 2012.

The BPE boss said that the bulk of the revenue would come at the conclusion of the on-going Power Sector Reform and privatisation of the PHCN successor companies.

She said the privatisation of the Olorunsogo Power Plant would be completed within a month, stressing that the bureau's work plan was proceeding with vigour in spite of delays in the release of its capital budget.

Giving an update on the privatisation of PHCN successor companies, which is donor-funded and, therefore, not subject to the delays in the release of the transaction budget, Onagoruwa highlighted the outstanding activities from the work plan.

She said "the next key milestone is the submission of the technical and financial proposals of bidders, slated for July 17, for generating companies and July 31 for distribution companies.

"This development will be followed by the commencement of evaluation.

"The evaluation of generation companies will be concluded by Aug. 14, while that for distribution companies will end by Aug. 31."

Onogoruwa said the bureau would seek approval from the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) for the evaluation of the generation companies on Aug. 28, while that of the distribution companies would hold on Sept. 11.

Already, she had briefed the management meeting on the seven pending reform bills, the statement said.

Some of the bills include the Railway Bill, Inland Waterways Bill, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill and the Postal Bill.

The bills were approved by the NCP since 2009 and sent to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

"The FEC sent it back to the BPE/Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and the minister of justice for fine-tuning and interfacing with line ministries.

"The process of fine-tuning and interfacing with line ministries has been concluded and all the bills are ready and the Legal Committee of the NCP is having a final look at them," Onogoruwa said.

Meanwhile, the bureau in a separate statement in Abuja on Wednesday said Transcorp Plc, owner of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, had expressed commitment to actualise the second phase of its post-acquisition plan.

The plan was part of the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) with the BPE and the second phase involves recapitalisation, service portfolio/facilities expansion and new business development.

The statement added that Mr Valentine Ozigbo, the Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp, who received the BPE delegates on Post Privatisation Monitoring, said the action plan to actualise the covenant would be submitted to BPE within two weeks.

He attributed the delay in the expansion programme to the illegal encroachment on the hotel's land and expressed delight that the issue had been resolved.

Ozigbo said the areas of focus during the exercise would, among others, include the construction of a shopping mall within the hotel and construction of short/long stay service apartments on the available land within the premises to cater for corporate clients.

On recapitalisation, he said funding and development plan was in place to ensure its actualisation.

"The plan is to leverage internal resources and debt funding for new business development and further refurbishments.

"After BPE succeeds with further sale of government's interest, equity funding will be deployed to boost the capital base for further expansion."

Ozigbo said that within the next five years, the hotel planned to establish its presence in Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Kano, Asaba and Calabar.

He added that the hotel currently had a workforce of 1,430 from the 957 it inherited in 2005 when it was privatised.

The CEO noted that poor power supply and the current security challenge were among the major challenges hampering the optimal performance of the hotel.

The Leader of the BPE Monitoring Team, Mr Rabiu Abba, advised core investors to always carry the bureau along in its development plans. (NAN)

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