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Fashola: DisCos’ poor remittance nearly collapsed power sector

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has scolded the Distribution Companies (DisCos) saying their poor remittance nearly collapsed power generation before the N701.9 billion intervention fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Fashola said this on Monday at the 15th monthly meeting of power sector operators at the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) facility in Jos Plateau state.

He said: “The N701.9bn intervention fund is consistent with Government’s policy and determination to enable businesses flourish, and it was intended to save the Generation Companies (GenCos), the gas companies and their financiers who were providing service, from collapse.”

The Daily Trust reports that the CBN fund would be managed by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) to bridge GenCos’ liquidity issues from January 2017 to 2019 to ensure more gas supply and steady power generation.

The minister while reading the riot act to the DisCos over their views on government’s centralisation of market accounts among other issues said, “Your statement did not tell members of the public that these companies were not getting paid because you were not remitting all of what you should remit to NBET and the market operator, admittedly because of reasons that are partly and not partly your fault.”

Fashola clarified that the escrowing of DisCos’ revenues was part of the agreement they have with CBN if they default on the N213bn stabilisation fund.  He said centralisation of DisCos’ revenues was part of “attempts to make regulations to guide the pricing of your procurement” and not an intrusion into their business.

Fashola also accused DisCos of buying spare parts at inflated contracts saying the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) will soon sanction the erring firms. “Since Government holds 40 per cent of the shares of Discos on behalf of states and local governments and the Nigerian people, it has a duty to ensure that you buy parts and other equipment at reasonable and competitive market prices.

“And not through inflated contracts to relatives as we have seen in some Discos in respect of which NERC will take action in due course and sanction those who are involved,” Fashola declared.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC), Malam Yayale Ahmed urged participants to use the meeting to address the many power issues reassuring that the minister was capable of resolving them.

Governor of Plateau State, Mr Simon Lalong urged the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to resume and complete the many abandoned projects in the state adding that more investments in renewable energy is required from investors.

Lalong said the next National Council on Power (NACOP) meeting slated for September 2017 will be hosted by the state. 

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