By Obas Esiedesa
In the wake of reports suggesting that the Federal Government was considering repossessing the privatized electricity distribution companies, the umbrella body of the utilities, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) says such a possibility was farfetched.
ANED in a statement issued by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Sunday Oduntan said the repossession of the companies was not desired outcome of the privatization process.
He noted that has said the DisCos were committed to partnering with the Federal Government to solve the challenges affecting retail electricity distribution in the country.
A media report last Thursday had claimed that the government will pay N736 billion to investors to repossess the DisCos, citing a document from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
But Oduntan said: “The Federal Government and the DisCo investors remain committed to working in partnership to address the current challenges of retail electricity distribution, as evidenced by the recent Siemens initiative and recent regulatory activities.”
According to him, other efforts that prove the collaboration of DisCos and the government include the ongoing Meter Asset Providers (MAP) programme, the distribution franchise consultations, the present wrap-up of the minor electricity tariff reviews, among others to provide affordable and consistent power supply for electricity customers.
“It is the hope and expectation of the DisCo investors and operators that, collectively, the aforementioned initiatives and activities, in tandem with respect for sanctity of contract, increased regulatory and policy certainty, will provide the enabling environment that will result in a Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) that is commercially viable and sustainable, thereby attracting the desperately needed investment that continues to be elusive in the sector,” he noted.
Reacting to the media report on government trying to pay N736bn to investors to repossess the DisCos, ANED described the headline as sensational. It said the report itself clarified that: “To do so within the provisions of the Share Sale Agreement will require a sum in the region of $2.4bn (about N736bn), some of which will be paid as compensation to the failed investors.
“This is not a desirable outcome. It is noteworthy that government is yet to pay the investor in Yola DisCo for its negotiated return to government”, he pointed out.