The Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, on Thursday in Abuja said it had formally handed over Olorunsogo Power Plc to SEPCO-Pacific Partners, a private company.
This is contained in a statement made available to journalists by the Head, Public Communications of BPE, Chigbo Anichebe.
According to the statement, the handover of the plant brings the total number of power asset handed over to the private sector in the last four months to 16.
It said that the handover was done by the Chairman of National Council on Privatisation, NCP, Vice President Namadi Sambo, at the council’s last meeting.
The Vice President, who was represented by the Director-General BPE, Benjamin Dikki, said the privatisation programme would not have been possible without the support from President Goodluck Jonathan.
Sambo said that the Phase One of Olorunsogo Power Plant had a capacity of 335MW and was constructed between 2002 and 2007 at $167 million dollars.
He said that the power plant was initially a joint project between the Federal Government and SEPCO on the basis that Federal Government would provide 35 per cent while SEPCO the remaining 65 per cent.
“It was conceived initially in the contract and terms of the agreement that the power project after completion would operate commercially.
“Then the proceeds from the sales of electricity generated will be used for the repayment of the vendor financing and interest payment.
“However, the delay in the completion period coupled with limitation in gas supply and paucity of funds at PHCN, resulted to default in the payment of the debt and accumulation of unpaid invoices to SEPCO.
“This debt was finally taken over by the Debt Management Office In 2010,” he said.
Mr. Sambo said that President Jonathan later approved the divestiture of Federal Government shares from the plant.
This, according to him, resulted in the BPE commencing negotiations with SEPCO-Pacific to convert the project’s finance debt to equity and resolve the financial commitment of the Federal Government.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of SEPCO-Pacific, Adedeji Adeleke, said his firm has confidence in the Nigeria economy.
Mr. Adeleke also commended the commitment and transparency exhibited by the BPE throughout the power reform and privatisation programmes in spite of the challenges.