The verification of the N67billion Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) debt claims, which the 11 electricity distribution companies (DisCos) submitted to the Advisory Power Team (APT) of the Office of the Vice President, has saved the federal government a whopping N41,415,488,965.
In its report dated June, 2017, the team recommended that N25,994,511,035bn be paid to the DisCos. Consequent upon the conclusion of the verification, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, at the 18th Monthly Power Stakeholders’ meeting in Kumboso, Kano State, said the sector was awaiting the approval of the payment to the beneficiaries.
It would be recalled that the demand for the payment of the claims had caused uproar in the sector, as the DisCos, under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), regularly placed newspaper adverts of how the debts had crippled their investments. Fashola, however, insisted on the verification of the debts before payment could be made to the companies.
However, the former Group Executive Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), M.r David Ige, stated that there is need for prompt settlement of the over N1 trillion debt for the power sector to operate optimally across the entire value chain.
Ige made this known at the recent conference organised by the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria (NAEC).
“We all are agreed that we have major crisis in the energy sector. Particularly in the power and gas sectors. At the moment, the liquidity challenge is that about N1trn is being owed as debt across the entire value chain from gas all the way to distribution,” he said.
He also stated that natural gas has been identified to have been affected by the liquidity challenge in power sector; adding that“Apparently, this threatens all of the value chain from gas to power.”
“We need to address these fundamental issues of not utilising the installed capacity to produce gas. About 300 billion scuf that’s stranded is due to the power sector not taking the gas,” he added.
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