The Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, has declared that contrary to insinuations in some quarters, there is indeed nothing ongoing in terms of contract or licence renewal for any of the distribution companies (Discos), including BEDC Electricity Plc.
Speaking during a press briefing in Benin-city, Okoh appealed to civil society groups, residents and all stakeholders in the BEDC franchise areas to exercise restraint and allow the company perform its functions of electricity distribution without any hindrance, even as he described BEDC as one of the best managed discos.
“The government respects contracts and would not do anything to jeopardise the operations of companies that federal government had willingly entered into agreements with, including the Discos.
“We have followed the development in Benin Disco with keen interest and indeed the attention of the Bureau has been drawn to certain erroneous information over the purported renewal of the licences issued to the Discos, including BEDC Electricity Plc, for the purpose of retail distribution of electricity,” the DG remarked.
While clarifying the difference between a performance agreement review and what has been purported as a review of the operating licence of the disco, Okoh disclosed that the performance agreement stipulates the milestones that the core investors should achieve within a specified period, while the issue of licencing was a different matter and is being handled by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
He said in relation to the above, all Discos sold were thus also required to acquire NERC licence in addition to purchasing the privatised company and its assets, adding: “For BEDC, there is an existing 15 years NERC licence broken into 10 years plus 5 years, with another 10 years renewal option at the end of the 15 years period i.e. licence of up to 25years.”
Federal government, he hinted, was pursuing a comprehensive power sector recovery programmed that would address the challenges of the sector many of which are faced by, but not peculiar to the Benin franchise areas.
In her update across the franchise states, Managing Director/CEO, BEDC Plc, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, disclosed that 27 applications were received for the Meter Asset Provider (MAP), adding that after screening, 7 were currently going through the financial bid review process.
On the Ondo South network rehabilitation project, she disclosed that the federal government through the National Independent Power Project (NIPP), has joined forces with BEDC for the speedy rehabilitation of the whole network.