The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on Thursday named members of the interim management team for the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Plc.
In a statement signed by Amina Tukur Othman, the head, Public Communications for the Bureau, declared Bada Akinwumi as the interim Managing Director; Sani Usman as interim Chief Business Officer; Babajide Ibironke as interim Chief Finance Officer; Donald Etim as interim Chief Marketing Officer; and Femi Zachaeus as interim Chief Technical Officer.
Recall, the management of the company was handed over to United Bank for Africa following legal processes arising from the failure of the core investor to meet its obligations to a lender.
Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, who had announced the change of management on Wednesday, noted that AEDC had been faced with significant operational challenges which have deteriorated due to lack of access to intervention finances leading to a point whereby legitimate entitlements of the staff are being owed.
According to him, the AEDC has been faced with operational challenges arising from a dispute between the core Investors (KANN consortium) and the UBA as lenders for the acquisition for the majority shareholding to the public utility.
Aliyu stated that UBA, as a lender, and in exercising its rights over the shares of KANN Consortium in AEDC, had taken over the shares of the obligor in the AEDC.
However, BPE disclosed that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the regulator in the power sector approved the appointment of the interim Management Team for the company.
“Chairman of NERC, Sanusi Garba in approving the appointment of the new interim management for the AEDC said it is in pursuant to the earlier fit and proper review of BPE’s pool of nominees and in the context of Business continuity framework of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI),” it stated.
The Chairman of NERC, Sanusi Garba and Director General of BPE, Alex Okoh, confirmed the on-going dispute amongst competing factions of AEDC’s majority shareholder/core investor (KANN Utility Company Limited), stating that the dispute eventually spilled over with the lender that provided the acquisition loan to KANN for the acquisition of majority shares during the privatisation exercise in 2013, over KANN’s inability to service its debt to the bank.
“The United Bank for Africa (UBA) had acted as Mandated Lead Arranger, underwriting the entire facility of $122million, about N20 billion then for Kann Utilities acquisition of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company.
“During the course of the intractable crisis, AEDC not only struggled to meet its obligations to the market under the terms and conditions of its licence but was also unable to meet its obligations to key stakeholders in the organisation including staff culminating in the industrial action by members of the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE).
“Eventually, this resulted in a total service disruption on 6th December 2021 for over 14 hours in AEDC’s network area. The provision of electricity supply in AEDC’s network area was only restored after the intervention of the Minister of Power, NERC and BPE following an agreement with the union on the terms for the suspension of the industrial action on 6th of December 2021,” it stated.
The BPE further stated that the action to appoint an interim team to manage AEDC was not done on the basis of a directive from the Federal Government, “the Receiver/Manager has agreed to the appointment of an interim management team in conjunction with BPE as part of measures designed to address business failure events and ensure continuity of service to end-use customers in the service area,” it said.