Again, BPE delays PHCN privatisation

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PHCN Nigeria

PHCN Nigeria

It is another setback for reforms in the sector which investors hope will unlock the potential of Africa’s second largest economy.

Despite holding the world’s seventh biggest gas reserves, Nigeria only provides its 160 million people with enough electricity to power a medium-sized European city.

Those who can afford it rely on expensive diesel generators. Those who can’t light candles and lanterns.

President Goodluck Jonathan unveiled power privatisation plans 18 months ago as a major flagship policy and pledged state power generation and distribution assets would be sold off last year.

If he could fix Nigeria’s notoriously creaky power sector where several of his predecessors have failed, it would revive his presidency and would also leave one of the most impressive legacies of any Nigerian leader. But several government deadlines on privatisation have been missed and the BPE has set out a new timetable.

“According to the revised bid timeline issued to investors by the privatisation agency, the announcement of the preferred bidders for the 17 successor companies … will be made on/or before October 23, 2012,” a BPE statement said.

It said part of the reason for the delay was the need to address concerns raised by power industry officials at a conference with the Nigerian government in November.

Nigeria plans to award a management contract for transmitting electricity from power plants to substations and privatise the bulk of six power generation plants and 11 distribution firms, which supply end users.

In : Energy