FG Set to Sell 216 Defunct PHCN Assets

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•AEDC declares interest

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The federal government has said that it is set to dispose of some of the non-core assets belonging to the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in three phases.

Speaking on Monday during an oversight function to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company by the Senate Committee on Power led by Senator Gabriel Suswam, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO), Mr. Adebayo Fagbemi, stressed that the processes for the proposed sales were nearing completion.

During the tour, the Managing Director, AEDC, Mr. Ernest Mupwaya, also indicated interest in buying two of the properties the company currently occupies in Abuja, adding that the AEDC has the right of first refusal on the buildings.

However, Fagbemi explained that according to the procurement act, the assets were being sold out in phases because the government will have to offload “as at the time of best value”.

The government said it would be cumbersome to put everything in the market at the same time, adding that it had to get the value at the current period for the assets transferred to NELMCO.

NELMCO was designated to assume responsibility for all of the PHCN liabilities leading up to the November 1, 2013 handover of the companies, as well as the management of the non-core assets of the companies, prior to disposition of same.

It administers the stranded debts, settles PHCN’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) debts obligations, legacy debts and sells, lets, mortgages as well as dispose of any of the property or non-core assets of the company.

Fagbemi explained that NELMCO had advertised the procurement of some of the assets, stating that everything was being done to ensure that the right thing is done.

He said: “The first phase of assets we are bringing for sale is 52. There is another second batch which is 58 and the third batch we are working on now is 106.”

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Suswam, who agreed with Mupwaya, explained that the building is one of the legacy buildings from PHCN, revealing that the AECD has accepted that the property belongs to the federal government.

“They (AEDC) told us that some were handed over to them when the company was incorporated and we need to be sure that they are telling us the truth.

“But the MD has told us why they are supposed to be paying rent but because there is advert for sale. They also have the right of first refusal and those are administrative issues that will be handled by the agency concerned, the NELMCO.

“We are satisfied that the building is here and AEDC has accepted that the building belongs to government that they are tenants here until when they are able to procure it if they win the bid,” he said.

It was learnt that with the N40 million monthly rent, from the handover date of November 2013 to date, the company owes a rent arrears of N3.2 billion on the asset.

On whether the Senate would consider reversing the privatisation of the power sector, Suswam said that it was not been mulled, noting that the lawmakers would rather enhance the performance of the sector.

“The Senate is not pushing for the reversal of the privatisation as that will destabilise the economy and create issues of trust in the international community.

“Rather, we want to encourage the government to continue with the issue of privatisation as far as the power sector is concerned. There are teething problems and those problems will not be reason for the review of the privatisation.

“The privatisation was done and people have bought and all we can do is to try to make sure there is enhanced performance in the sector,” he said.