Gas shortage rather than politics is responsible for the delay in the conclusion of the privatisation of the 10 National Integrated Power Project plants, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, has said.
Dikki said this in a statement made available to our correspondent by the Head of Public Communications at the privatisation agency, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, in Abuja last week.
The BPE boss also put the capital expenditure needs of the 11 distribution companies that were privatised last year at around $1.8bn for the next five years; an average of about $360m per annum.
Dikki said the ongoing privatisation of the NIPP plants was being delayed by the problem of gas supply that had stalled the signing of the gas purchase agreements that would make the transactions bankable.
He stated that concerted efforts were being made to secure reliable gas supply that would enable the signing of the agreements necessary to precede the process of privatisation of the plants.
According to him, the privatisation programme is anchored on the attainment of clearly defined goals and parameters.
In the case of the generation companies, Dikki said capacities were expected to be ramped up from the current low levels to those that meet the minimum targets specified in the respective business plans submitted by the core investors.
For the distribution companies, he said the performance of the business operations of the new owners would be measured on the basis of their abilities to reduce the aggregate technical, commercial and collection loss targets specified in their business plans.
The BPE helmsman further enumerated the key objectives of the reform and privatisation of the power sector, amongst which is to reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria so as to attract new investments through the provision of quality and dependable power supply.
Dikki noted that the power sector generally would require billions of dollars in expenditure over the next five years and that this was needed to achieve the goals of the electric power reform programme.
He added that BPE had ensured that the buyers of the power firms were contractually obligated to make investments, adding that the agency and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission would monitor the implementation of the requirements closely and continuously.