Clearly ignoring the threats to embark on strike by electricity workers, the Jonathan administration took the bold step of handing over physical assets to new core investors expected to drive the power sector henceforth.
The assets were handed over to them on Friday.
The electricity workers had threatened that they would embark on strike should the administration hand over the assets without fully paying them their claims. But the administration insisted that over 90percent of them had been paid and that the remaining less than ten percent would be paid after the re-capture of their data.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who disclosed this to journalists at Abuja, said government has no “business doing business.”
He said the PHCN has now ceased to exist but the debt which government incurred and their assets have been transferred to the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO).
“Government has no business doing business, because government was doing business NELMCO now has between N600billion to N1trillion debt that needs to be settled. So some of these assets you are thinking will be stripped will not be stripped, they have been submitted to NELMCO,” he said.
The minister noted that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) will soon roll out rules for the interim operation of the firms before the activation of the Electricity Transition Market.
Prof. Nebo said he will declare the Electricity Transition Market following NERC advice that the conditions for the declaration have been met.
He said the new owners are already aware that they have to make do with the interim electricity rules before the declaration of the electricity transition market.
The minister added that after the declaration of the market, there will be post handover recovering in accordance with the investment and business plans for the new owners.
He said there will also be a post handover monitoring by the Federal Ministry of Power, NERC and BPE.
He said, “For today’s event, we must hand over physically five generation companies and ten distribution companies to the new owners. The handover automatically gives the new owners authority to take over and manage the companies in line with already established rules and guidelines by the Bureau of a public Enterprises and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
“After the announcement and activation of the interim market rules by NERC, the regulator will very shortly announce to us what the interim rules for the market should be. Next is the declaration of the Electricity Transition Market by the minister and this will be made on advice by NERC.
“Once NERC says all the conditions have been met, NERC will advise the minister to declare the transition electricity market. And then post handover recovery in line with agreed business and investment plans of all the new owners. And then post handover monitoring by all relevant bodies; Federal Ministry of Power, BPE and NERC.”