DG BPE, Ms. Bolanle Onagoruwa
International and local companies interested in the acquisition of the 17 generation and distribution companies created from the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Tuesday made a last minute dash to beat the deadline for the submission of their bid documents.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had given the bidders till 5 pm yesterday to submit their technical and financial proposals, as well as a $2 million bid bond from each of the bidders for the power assets.
National Council on Privatisation (NCP) sources confirmed last night that as at 5 pm, they had received several bids, but they had not been collated to ascertain how many bidders met the deadline.
One NCP source said that once the collation is concluded and announced, an evaluation committee, comprising BPE officials and their technical and financial advisers would commence the process of evaluating the technical proposals next week.
“When this is concluded and successful bidders are selected, they will be invited for the opening of financial bids and possible negotiations,” the source said.
Those who could not meet the deadline, however, were locked out and were seen outside BPE’s office in Abuja, pleading to be let in.
A total of 330 companies had expressed interest in the power assets slated for privatisation. But following the screening exercise conducted by the BPE, the number of bidders was pruned to 207, comprising 80 bids for the 11 distribution companies (Discos), 87 for the thermal power stations and 40 for the hydro power stations.
The 207 bidders were asked to pay $20,000 each for data room access to enable them undertake due diligence of the companies they were bidding for.
Of the 40 bidders that had expressed interest in the hydro power plants, only 24 paid the $20,000 for the data room access, while 56 out of the 87 bidders for the thermal power stations, paid the data room access fee, and 72 out of the 80 bidders for the Discos were pre-qualified to enter the data room.
This, according to sources at NCP, brought the total number of bidders allowed to conduct due diligence to 152.
Having concluded their due diligence, the 152 bidders were given till 5 pm yesterday to submit their technical and financial proposals along with their bid bonds.
The Director General of BPE, Ms. Bolanle Onagoruwa, had disclosed last month that an estimated N200 billion would be realised from the privatisation of the 18 successor companies.
She however explained that the bulk of the revenue would come at the conclusion of the privatisation of the successor companies.
Onagoruwa also stated that the privatisation of the Olorunsogo power plant would be consummated within a month, noting that over N1.2 billion had so far been garnered as privatisation proceeds for 2012.
She noted that the bureau’s work plan was proceeding with vigour in spite of delays in the release of the capital budget containing BPE’s approved transaction budget.
The thermal power generating companies listed for privatisation are: Ughelli Power Plc with an installed capacity of 972mw; Geregu Power Plc – 414mw; Afam Power Plc comprising Afam I-V – 776mw; and Sapele Power Plc – 1020mw.
The Discos are: Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc; and Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc.
As the privatisation programme for the electricity assets remains on track, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and BPE have met with the Canadian power firm, Manitoba Hydro International, to review terms and conditions in the contract that will see Manitoba assume operational control of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). The takeover of TCN by Manitoba is slated for July 30.
This development is coming on the heels of sharp criticism of the privatisation process by the Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, who has warned that the country was on the verge of selling off its power facilities to prospective investors.
According to a statement from NERC’s Assistant General Manager, Media, Maryam Abubakar, Tuesday in Abuja, the commission met with the management of Manitoba and representatives from BPE at its headquarters where it harped on efficiency of TCN under the new contract management.
NERC also warned that system collapses in the power sector would be unacceptable in line with the terms of their contract.
Amadi was quoted to have said that the commission's interest as a regulator was to ensure that Manitoba fulfils its contractual obligations, adding that NERC expects a comprehensive management plan that includes a work plan, milestones and performance indicators from Manitoba.
Meanwhile, Amadi in an interview with journalists expressed his reservations about the ongoing PHCN privatisation process, saying that perhaps, Nigeria was not in control of the process.
He explained that reforms in the power sector were not properly followed in line with the 2001 National Electric Power Policy and Electricity Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act of 2005 and that the sector had only recorded marginal growth which is insignificant given the country’s expectations of it.
He said: “The reform was not notably followed to the letter. The first step was to unbundle, then corporatize the entities. What that means is that you begin to run those entities as they are independent, corporate entities with self governance.
“Take for example, ESKOM of South Africa is a publicly-owned company but it is efficient and returning revenue to government,” he said.