Teddy Oscar, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan has commended Nigerians for demonstrating patience and confidence with government’s reform to power sector, and promised them of better days ahead.
Jonathan, who at the State House on Monday during the ‘Formal Handover of Share Certificates and Licences to New Core Owners of PHCN Successor Companies’ ceremony, urged power-related ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) not rest on their oars, despite working hard to keep the power reform process on track.
He also promised government’s support to ensure the success of the private sector partners in providing Nigerians with uninterrupted power supply.
“To the Nigerian people, who have demonstrated such great patience and confidence, putting up often with darkness, noisy power generating sets, the related pollution and the daily disruption in their lives, I say better days are coming.
“It is important to acknowledge the efforts of, diligence and commitment of all the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), especially the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) headed by vice president, the federal ministries of power, finance and petroleum resources, and others that gave true meaning to the activities that kept the reform process on course. I applaud you all.
“However, I must remind you that the work is not yet over. Your staff must re-orient themselves to play the needed new roles that have been assigned to them, as a result of the reform. They must be prepared to collaborate efficiently with our private sector partners. Business can no longer be as usual. All the relevant MDAs must be ready to work in a more determined, proactive and result-driven manner,” he added.
He reiterated government’s decision to support the private sector partners succeed in their task to provide uninterrupted power supply.
“Going forward, this administration is committed to providing all elements that are necessary for our private sector partners to succeed in providing Nigerians with uninterrupted power supply. To start with, the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), the off-taker, has been provided with a capitalisation of over $750 million, positioning it to carry out its mandate without financial constraints,” he said.
During the ceremony, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, hinted that government’s inability to completely settle the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)’s workers has made it impossible for government to perform the physical takeover of assets of PHCN successor companies.
Nebo, who spoke to newsmen, after the ceremony, however, could not confirm the figures that have been settled or not.
“Let me restate that today is only a formal handover of all needed ownership certificates and licences. However, (the) physical takeover of assets will be effected later in (the) course of the month of October, as we fully discharge our responsibilities to the remaining workers of PHCN.
“No, the handover is not today. Today, we handed over certificates and licences, but the physical handover will come after we have settled all the PHCN workers. That is the only natural thing to do, and we intend to complete that in the next couple of weeks. Well, I can say that the physical handover has not been made because we need to complete that (PHCN workers’ settlement) first; yes.
“It is difficult (to tell the figure of PHCN workers, who have not been settled) because settlement is an ongoing thing everyday, including today. Many are receiving their packages. So, I cannot tell you specifically how many of them have been settled. But a good majority of them have been settled,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Vice President, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, disclosed that there is an agreement to sufficiently improve on the present capacity.
“The new owners of the generation companies are expected to build up capacity from the present level of performance to additional 5,000 megawatts within a period of five years. This promise has been clearly captured in the performance agreement that the new owners have with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), which will be monitored by the regulator,” he disclosed.
In his welcome address, Benjamin Ezra Dikki, director general of BPE, called on government to give similar attention to the reforms in the transport sector.
“The transport sector is another key sector of the economy that touches every life. I have heard some economists say that the lack of transport infrastructure is unnecessarily adding 20-30 percent to the cost of every product sold.
“If the transport sector is taken care of, it means the freed resources can be used to fuel further economic growth in other sectors. If the reform bills for roads, railways and inland waterways are quickly passed, and the regulatory agencies set up, concession of roads, railways and inland waterway channels can be done as with the seaports, this will bring in fresh investments and free government from committing resources in those areas,” he added.
He also pointed out that the passage of the ports and harbour bill will provide a regulator for the ports concession, as well as give the private sector confidence to build the deep seaports that nation needs.
It would be recalled that PHCN was unbundled into 15 successor companies, which comprised five generation companies (GENCOs) and 10 distribution companies (DISCOs).
just imaging you are not ashamed of your self,what of the promise you made to fix it,now you commend nigerians patience.you better know that we cannot be patient to eternity.you are using our patience,dont forget our patience will surely hunt you back..directionless presido who act only when commanded by pant and skirt.