Senate probes Federal Government’s proposed N309bn electricity bond
• TCN, DISCOs charged on evacuation
The Senate, yesterday, ordered an investigation into Federal Government’s proposed sale of bonds worth N309 billion to finance shortfall in the Nigerian electricity market.
Adopting a motion by Muhammed Bukar (APC, Katsina North), the House asked the Federal Government to stop issuance, pending conclusion of investigation by its joint Committees on Power and Privatisation.
It also urged the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to immediately halt raising of the bonds by the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).
It mandated the Committees on Power and Privatisation to investigate the post-privatisation performance of all players in the power sector, in line with their performance agreement, including the management and disbursement of any loans or bonds of agencies in the sector.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), meanwhile, has raised hopes on improved gas supply to the nation’s power plants.The corporation gave this indication in a communiqué, yesterday, at the end of the 9th monthly retreat of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and operators in the power sector, held in Sokoto.
Bukar said the planned borrowing was being muted, despite series of interventions, such as bailout by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in March 2015 to the tune of N213 billion, through the Nigeria Electricity Sector Intervention (NESI).
He noted that the shortfall had continued to escalate at the rate of about N15 billion per month, equivalent to N500 million daily. He added that the total shortfall, as at December 31, 2015, stood at N400 billion.
The NNPC spoke of a promising outlook on gas by the end of the third quarter of the year. “The strategy for gas supply improvement involves restoring previous supply level by completing repairs of ELPS 24 pipeline by mid-November 2016, and incremental supply through new supply additions from the following projects: NPDC Oredo 2, Utorogu NAG2, Odidi, Giga Gas and TEPNG.”
The Minister, Babatunde Fashola, noted that the meeting focused on identifying, discussing and finding practical solutions to critical issues facing the Nigerian electricity supply industry.
The meeting stressed the need for the nation’s transmission system and distribution companies to ensure all incremental power added to the national grid could be evacuated by the grid and delivered to customers.