By Ibraheem Hamza Muhammad:
Quest Electricity Nigeria Limited-the New investor in the Yola Electricity Distribution Company(YEDC) is committed to improving the quality of life of the inhabitants in the North East geopolitical zone.
Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Mr. Alex A. Okoh stated this at the signing ceremony of the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement (SSPA) for the privatisation of YEDC in Abuja.
Spokesperson of BPE, Amina Tukur Othman said in a statement that, according to the DG, in addition to paying the purchase fee of N19bn, the new investor has committed to a Performance Improvement Programme which will involve an investment of US$68m ( N28bn) over a period of two years.
Mr. Okoh said, through aggressive investment drive, it will provide an economic tool for combating the insurgency in the region.
According to the Director General, “this investment will be utilised for the purpose of carrying out an extensive upgrade of the Company’s electricity distribution network, in order to bring the business to the level of financial viability. It is expected that this investment will deliver results within a period of five years”.
These includes, reduction in losses from the current level of 80% (which is the highest in the industry) to 29% equivalent to a 51% loss reduction; growth in customer base from 396,650 to 596,650 which represents a 50% increase and a significant increase in energy supplied from 1,305 GWh to 1,714GWh, an increase of over 400 GWh or 31% increase.
Similarly, he said, as a result of the aggressive investment drive by the investor, “it is expected that the increase in energy supply will stimulate economic growth and development in this region through: the creation of new industries and opportunities; attracting much needed investment; and boosting job creation.
While noting the rigorous process of the negotiation which took place in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and its crippling impact on economic activities as well the challenging operational environment in the North East region of the country, Okoh said it is a testament to the commitment and doggedness of the parties to deliver on the transaction and the high collaborative spirit between the Federal Government and the Core Investor.
The DG said that, ” It is a clear indication that there is still a significant level of interest on the part of investors in the Federal Government’s reform and privatisation programme, notwithstanding the challenges in the power sector and the reaction that has trailed the privatisation process. This continued interest shows that the Federal Government took the right decision in reforming the power sector”.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Quest Electricity Nigeria Limited,Alhaji Adamu Mele noted the insecurity in company’s area of franchise but assured that it would work round it to tranform distribution company within a short time through infrasctrucure upgrade.
It would be recalled that following the approval of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) for the privatisation of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) and the conclusion of a competitive and transparent bidding process involving local and international investors, Quest Electricity Nigeria Limited emerged as the Preferred Bidder with a bid price of N19bn.