By Etuka Sunday
The Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh has reiterated the resolve of the Bureau not to compromise on transparency and integrity in the sale and management of public assets in the country.
Speaking at the joint kick-off meeting of the transaction advisers for the privatisation of Afam Power Generation Plant and Yola Power Distribution Company in Abuja, the Director General also said the Bureau had raised the bar for privatisation transactions.
He maintained that stakeholders would be carried along throughout the entire stages of the transactions.
The Head, Public Communications, BPE, Amina Tukur Othman in a statement quoted Okoh to have noted the criticism that trailed the initial privatisation of the power companies and said that the lessons learnt in the previous exercise would be applied to set a standard for the fresh transactions, adding that transparency and professionalism are key to all the Bureau’s transactions.
On the emergence of FBN Quest Consortium as the sole transaction adviser for Yola and Afam Power Companies, he said there was nothing untoward about it, rather “it is in furtherance of the Bureau’s stance on transparency because the Consortium participated in the two distinct bidding processes for the selection of transactions advisers and emerged as the preferred bidder for Yola Power Company and reserved bidder for Afam Power Company”.
He explained that when negotiations with the preferred bidder- Energy Markets & Rates Consortium (EMRC)for advisory services for Afam Power Company transaction fell through, the Bureau made recourse to the reserved bidder – FBN Quest in line with best practice.
While expressing confidence in FBN Quest’s ability to deliver on both transactions, the BPE boss pledged the Bureau’s support towards ensuring the success of the standards to be set in the fresh transactions.
In response, the Deputy Managing Director of FBN Quest Consortium, Mr. Taiwo Okeowo stated that the Consortium’s goal is to partner with BPE to set an improved standard in the course of the transactions and post-transaction activities.
To achieve this he said, a team of professionals cutting across technical experts, legal services, as well as financial experts were on board to execute the task.
It will be recalled that although Yola Distribution Company was successfully privatised and handed over to the core investor in 2013, a force majeure was declared in 2015 by the core investor citing insecurity in the North-East region of the country. Following this, the company was duly repossessed by the Federal Government.
The transaction for Afam Power Generation Company on the other hand fell through due to the delay in signing the Gas Supply Agreement (GSAA) and the Gas Transportation Agreement (GTA).
In 2017 the National council on Privatisation (NCP) gave approval for a fresh transaction to privatise the two power companies.