Banks take over DisCos

  • New boards for Kaduna, Kano, Benin distribution companies
  • AMCON takes charge of IBEDC

Four electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) are to be managed by new boards following their takeover by banks and the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

They are Kano, Benin, Kaduna and Ibadan DisCos.

Fidelity and AFREXIM banks, which collateralized the shares of Kano, Benin and Kaduna DisCos have appointed three-member boards, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) confirmed yesterday.

The Federal Government, which has 40 percent state in the DisCos, is represented in the new boards.

The regulators said AMCON, which has taken over the management of Ibadan DisCo, will be run by a placeholder board.

According to NERC and BPE, Fidelity and Afriexim banks shave notified the affected DisCos of collateralising their shares.

In a statement, NERC Chairman Sanusi Garba and BPE Director-General Alex Okoh, said the banks have commenced action to take over the boards of the energy distributing firms.

The joint statement reads: “Today we were informed by Fidelity Bank that they have activated the call on the collateralised shares of Kano, Benin and Kaduna (Fidelity and Afrexim) DisCos and that they have initiated action to take over the boards of these DisCos and exercise the rights on the shares.”

According to the statement, Fidelity Bank’s action is a contractual and commercial intervention and is between the Core Investors in the DisCos and the lender.

”BPE is involved because of the 40% shareholding of government in the DisCos,” the regulators explained that.”

The BPE nominated Bashir Gwandu (Kano), Yomi Adeyemi (Benin) and Umar Abdullahi (Kaduna) as independent directors to represent federal government’s 40 per cent interest in the three DisCos respectively, during this transition.

The statement by NERC and BPE further reads: “We are engaging with the Central Bank of Nigeria (as the banking sector regulator) to ensure an orderly transition and to ensure that Fidelity Bank does not hold the DISCOs’ shares in perpetuity.

“It is envisaged that the majority interest in the entities would be sold to capable private sector investors willing and able to re-capitalize and manage the entities efficiently.

“We have also received assurances that Fidelity Bank will participate fully in all the ongoing market initiatives aimed at improving the sector (e.g. National Mass Metering Programme).

“In the interim, NERC and BPE met on an Emergency Basis and activated the Business Continuity Process and have appointed interim Managing Directors in the affected DISCOs: Kano Disco – Ahmad Dangana; Benin Disco – Henry Ajagbawa and Kaduna Disco– Yusuf Usman Yahaya.”

The statement added that also, with the takeover of Ibadan DisCo by AMCON, the BPE has obtained approval from NERC to appoint Kingsley Achife as the interim Managing Director.

According to the regulators, “in a temporary capacity the leadership of AMCON will be a placeholder Board for the Ibadan franchise (Ahmed Kuru – Chair, Eberechukwu Uneze – Member, Aminu Ismail – Member). Oluwaseyi Akinwale will represent the interest of Government on the Board alongside the DG of BPE.

“Lastly, we are re-structuring the Management and Board of Port Harcourt DisCo to forestall the imminent insolvency of the entity. As a condition for support to the entity to meet its market obligations, Iboroma Akpana will take over as the Chairman of the Board. Emmanuel Okotete, Eyo Ekpo, Ismaila Shuaibu and the DG of BPE will form the interim Board. Mr. Benson Uwheru will take over as the Managing Director of PHEDC as part of the changes. Government will support the activation of Emergency funds through the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility to support the entity while it goes through restructuring and repositioning to serve the citizens of the franchise area better.

“We are working with the Honourable Minister of Power to ensure no service disruptions during these transitions. We remain committed to supporting the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry to serve Nigerians better.”


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