At last, the new owners of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) have formally taken over the company as the Federal Government on Friday handed over the 14 successor companies to their new owners thus completing the privatisation process.
At the official hand-over ceremony of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to its new owner, Kann Utility Consortium Nigeria Limited, in Abuja, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, disclosed that the government had paid N360bn to the workers of the unbundled PHCN.
He acknowledged that though there might be some teething issues such as an increase in electricity tariff as soon as the new power owners commenced operations in earnest, he said the problems would soon disappear with time.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, PHCN has essentially cease to exist. We now have (electricity) distribution, generating and transmission companies. So it is no longer PHCN.
“For instance, this one is Abuja Electricity Distribution Company and is owned by Kann Consortium. So they are no longer PHCN and it is no longer business as usual, but business unusual because people are expected to deliver,” the Minister said at the occasion.
He disclosed that the Federal Government and the two key workers’ union leaders in the power sector had reached an amicable agreement on to peacefully handover the power firms to their new owners.
The unions, according to him, are the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies and the National Union of Electricity Employees.
“Agreements have been reached. Please never in the history of this country has a government kept its word in issues like this as has been demonstrated by the present administration.
“Already, N360bn has been paid out. The remaining N30bn or so is in the pipeline and all the issues of certification, biometric capture and making sure that clearance is done are being completed. Government is on it and the date has been fixed for some as November 15, while November 30 is for others. I have given my word and I am saying that no worker will be short-changed,” Nebo said.
Nebo explained that the present billing system was not cost reflective as he indicated that electricity tariff in Nigeria under the new dispensation may increase.