THE N25 billion which the federal government said it has paid to the eleven electricity distribution companies, Discos, is yet to get to them. The government claimed it has paid N25 billion out of the money owed Discos by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, of government.
Sunday Oduntan, director of research and advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED, said it was untrue that the money had been paid. In an interview with The Nation, Oduntan said the firms have not received any money either from the federal government or through the MDAs, adding that the government paid the N25billion to Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, NBET, and not the Discos.
“What the federal government has done was to net off the MDAs debts. The government has used the debts owed the energy distribution companies to pay NBET, which is the company buying electricity from the firms. How can you explain a situation, whereby your debtor paid the debt it owes you to another company, and yet claims it has paid part of the debt that it owes you? This is wrong, hence the decision by the Association to let Nigerians know that the distribution companies have not received anything from the government,” he said.
According to Oduntan, the government and its agencies are yet to fulfil their obligations of paying their debts either in full or in part. “The debts owed the power firms by the MDAs are still intact. The government is not precise on when the debts would be paid. The inability of the federal government to pay the debts accumulated over the years from unpaid electricity bills is affecting the operation of the companies. However, we are not complaining. We only want to put the record straight that we have not been paid.”
The firms, he said, are facing two critical problems in the industry because they are unable to service their debts while at the same time finding it difficult to shop for funds for operation. The development, Oduntan said, is making it difficult for the firms to purchase equipment needed for their growth. He observed that many of the Discos are using obsolete equipment such as transformers, meters, and others, adding that the issue is affecting service delivery in the sector.
He said the firms’ inability to garner enough funds for operation has resulted in poor skills and job losses, adding that many firms are sacking workers, rationing equipment and recording debts due to the problems in the power sector. He said the country would have improved electricity supply to its citizens if the firms have got enough money for adequate operation.
– Nov 10, 2017 @ 15:00 GMT |