Nigeria Recovers $65m Electricity Debt from Benin and Niger Republics
The Nigerian government has successfully recovered about $65 million owed to the country by Republic of Niger and Republic of Benin for electricity supplied to the two countries.
Minister of power, works and housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola while delivering his opening remarks at the 21st monthly power sector meeting in Asaba, Delta said the sum was recovered from Nigeria’s international customers after concerted efforts.
The minister added that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) would work out modalities for distribution of the recovered fund to stakeholders in the power sector value chain.
In a related development for the power sector, Fashola announced that the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) was ready to issue guidelines for the operation of the rural electrification fund which would help vulnerable groups and communities to gain access to funding to support their electricity development programmes.
“The fund will provide a partial single payment capital subsidy and or technical assistance to eligible private Rural Power Developers, NGOs or communities to invest in options such as hybrid mini grids or solar home systems to scale up rural access to electricity.
“What they are likely to get are minimum amounts of N3.5m and maximum amounts of N106m or 75 per cent of project cost whichever is less,” Fashola explained.
The minister described the debt recovery from Benin and Niger Republics as well as the rural electrification fund as only headline items of developments that characterised the progress the government was making month after month in the power sector, especially since March 2017.
Fashola who stated that progress was also being recorded at the distribution end of the sector controlled by the private sector, listed some of the achievements to include the newly completed Asaba main 2x15MVA injection substation commissioned on Monday. The project is within the franchise areas of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company.
The Nation reports that the minster thanked well-meaning Nigerians who acknowledged that their experience with power supply had improved, adding that their honesty-inspired government and the operators to continue the improvement.
On estimated billing and metering, he also explained that government and sector operators were anxiously awaiting the guidelines from the regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to open up the meter supply business.