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Adamawa State expects investment in troubled Yola DisCo

By Eromo Egbejule, in Lagos
Posted on Monday, 25 March 2019 18:30

In Yola, Adamawa State, INEC officials had to work by flashlight to prepare for the presidential election. REUTERS/Nyancho NwaNri

Yola Electricity Distribution Company (DisCo), the Nigerian power distribution company that declared force majeure in 2015, received two acquisition proposals in a bidding round that closed on 15 March, the country's Bureau of Public Enterprises has announced.

The joint bidding round also included three proposals for Afam Electricity Generation Company, in Rivers State. Quest Electricity Nigeria and Sandstream Nigeria big for Yola DisCo, while DiamondStripes Consortium, Unicorn Power Generation Consortium and Transcorp Power put in proposals for Afam GenCo.

For Yola DisCo, serving Adamawa, Borno, Taraba and Yobe states in the troubled North-East region, the offers cannot come soon enough.

  • The company was privatised during the unbundling of the national utility company, Power Holding (PHCN) in 2013.
  • It was handed over to the investors, Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Company (IEDMC), with 60% for $146.8m.
  • The insurgency in the North-East assumed a dangerous dimension and IEDMC was forced to declare a force majeure in 2015, only two years after taking possession of the asset.
  • Yola DisCo reverted to the state, and is now for sale again.

Electricity supply in Nigeria is notoriously erratic, and many parts of the country have adapted to not having power for hours on end. Sometimes, power stations add zero megawatts to the national grid.

During the 2013 unbundling exercise, only the generation and distribution arms were privatised, as the government continues to grapple with the transmission arm, which is suffering from outdated infrastructure. It remains to be seen if the government will ever let hold of that and what the ripple effect will be on the current electricity situation.

The fate of the Yola DisCo follows a trend of collapse of economic activity in the North-East region since the 2009 extrajudicial killing of Mohammed Yusuf, the radical Islamic scholar who founded Boko Haram in Maiduguri, capital of Borno.

  • Army chief Tukur Buratai puts the estimated loss of economic activities due to insurgency in the North East region at $9bn (N274.5bn).
  • In November 2014, Boko Haram raided a cement factory in Gombe and carted away dynamite to blow up banks in Adamawa, looting more than $1bn.
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