15 YEARS AFTER ! Aba to get 24 – hours light as EEDC, GEOMETRIC finally sign agreement

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Mr Alex Okoh, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), has charged Geometric Power to transform Aba and Ariara Business Units into a model distribution franchise by providing 24-hour electricity supply.

This is according to a statement issued by Amina Othman, the Head, Public Communications, BPE on Thursday in Abuja.

Othman quoted Okoh as giving the charge at the signing ceremony of the Asset Sale Agreement (ASA) between Geometric Power and Interstate Electric — owners of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), over the Aba ring-fenced area.

Okoh is quoted as saying that constant electricity supply would enable the industrial hub to flourish.

He also said that the ceremony marked a significant milestone in the process of the power sector reform, given the long drawn process of the transaction.

Okoh congratulated both parties, saying that the agreement was a win – win situation.

“Indeed, we thank the duo of Interstate and Geometric Power for their cooperation in making the required compromises which have made this agreement possible,” he said.

The director-general said that there were challenges facing the electricity sector in Nigeria, but the enormous and limitless opportunities in the sector were worth exploiting.

According to the him, the Federal Government has demonstrated ample commitment by tirelessly working to create the enabling environment that will incentivise private sector investors.

Dr Kester Enwereonu, the Managing Director, Interstate Electric Limited, is quoted as calling on Geometric Power to ensure speedy enhancement of the infrastructure in the franchise through positive investments.

This, he said, would raise the ability of the company to deliver power to the consumers.

Prof. Barth Nnaji, the Managing Director, Geometric Power, according to the statement, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for having the political will to end the impasse and pledged to make the agreement work.

Mr Ahmed Zakari, the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, said the signing ceremony signaled a return of investment in the power sector in Nigeria.

He also commended the BPE for its commitment to eliminating challenges to transactions in its purview.

According to the statement, the Federal Government, National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and Aba Power Ltd (APL) entered into an agreement on April 28, 2005.

It said that the parties executed a supplemental agreement on Aug. 31, 2006.

“The area of coverage delineated by NEPA through the lease agreement is referred to as Aba and Ariaria Business Units, to which the initial agreement gave an exclusive right to APL to operate.

“Following the privatisation exercise of the Federal Government in 2013, Interstate Electric acquired 60 per cent of EEDC from the BPE pursuant to a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement dated August 21, 2013 between the BPE and Interstate (the “SSPA”) and a number of other agreements signed with them.

“Subsequently, the distribution licence was issued to EEDC over five states in South-East Nigeria, which area also included previously and exclusively licensed Aba Ring-Fenced Area granted to Aba Power Limited (APL).

“On this basis, EEDC became the licensee in respect of the Enugu Distribution Area while APL remained the exclusive licensee of the Aba Ring-Fenced Area, creating a conflict between the two licences.”

The BPE said that on March 31, 2016, a Term Sheet was signed between APL and EEDC (Interstate Electric Limited) setting out the principles that would guide the resolution of the licensing overlap and the sale and transfer of the Assets to the Transferees.

However, the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), on Aug. 17, 2020, approved the transaction and directed the BPE to finalise the Asset Sale Agreement between Aba Power Ltd and the Federal Government, represented by the BPE.

Recall that the BPE was created through the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 1999, to diversify the economy and strengthen the private sector as Nigeria’s engine of growth and economic driver.

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