By Etuka Sunday
Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) and Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) are furthering negotiations to acquire some assets belonging to the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
This was disclosed by the Managing Director of AEDC, Engr. Ernest Mupwaya when the Senate Committee on Power inspected some of the assets in Abuja.
Recalls, NELMCO) plans to sell them and offset PHCN liabilities incurred before the 2013 power sector privatization.
Engr. Ernest Mupwaya however, acknowledged that the company was owing NELMCO rent for using the facilities since 2013.
Mupwaya said: “AEDC owes NELMCO rent of the assets which is about N40 million monthly, and we are in discussion with NELMCO to offset it as part of our seriousness to acquire the assets. We have owed this rent since take over in 2013.”
Addressing newsmen shortly after the inspection tour, the Managing Director of NELMCO, Adebayo Fagbemi said: “The essence of these assets is for us to dispose them with the aim of meeting up these liabilities.
“These assets are part of those that have been transferred to us and we have already advertised them to the Nigerian public in June 2018 when we advertised for valuers and sales agents and the processes are almost concluded now and we have gotten approval for the sales guidelines that will soon be made public to the Nigerian public.
“The first phase of the assets that we are bringing out for sale is 52, there is another second batch of 106 assets and the third batch is 58,” he said.
The NELMCO boss said the agency took over liabilities of the power sector from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) after the power sector privatization in 2013.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, said the members wondered why AEDC ought to pay for occupying government property.
He said, “We are also told that it is being occupied by AEDC which is a private company and we imagine why they occupy government property but the MD of NELMCO has told us that they need to be paying rent, and that because this advertised for sale, AEDC has the right of first refusal.
“We are satisfied that the building is there and the MD of AEDC accepted that it is government property and that they are planning to procure it when the bid is done,” Suswam noted.
On the reversal of the privatization, he said: “No, we are not. That will distort the economy and create issues of trust and confidence in the international community. Rather, we want to encourage the government to continue with the privatization as far as the power sector is concerned. We know there are teething problems, but they should not be the reason why it should be reversed.”