Nigeria’s federal government on on Tuesday night, announced the takeover of Kano, Benin and Kaduna electricity distribution companies by Fidelity Bank Plc after the bank initiated action to take over the boards of the three Discos.
Also, the government through its Bureau of Public Enterprises, announced that with the takeover of Ibadan Disco by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, the BPE had obtained approval from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to appoint an interim managing director for the distressed power firm.
The government further stated in a restructuring notice that it was restructuring the management and board of Port Harcourt Disco to forestall the imminent insolvency of the utility.
The notice was signed by the Director-General, BPE, Alex Okoh; and Executive Chairman, NERC, Sanusi Garba.
It read in part, “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.
“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 per cent shareholding of government in the Discos.”
The BPE stated that Fidelity Bank had informed the bureau that the new board members of Kano Disco include Hasan Tukur (Chairman), Nelson Ahaneku (member), Rabiu Suleiman (member).
For Benin Disco, the board members include KC Akuma (Chairman), Adeola Ijose (member), Charles Onwera (member).
The board members of Kaduna Disco were outlined as Abbas Jega (Chairman), Ameenu Abubakar (member), Marlene Ngoyi (member).
“BPE has nominated Bashir Gwandu (Kano), Yomi Adeyemi (Benin), and Umar Abdullahi (Kaduna) as independent directors to represent government’s 40 per cent interest in the three Discos respectively, during this transition,” the bureau stated.
It added, “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-capitalise 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).
The bureau, however, noted that in the interim, the NERC and BPE met on an emergency basis and activated the Business Continuity Process and had appointed interim Managing Directors in the affected Discos.