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FG okays N72 billion to boost electricity, decries poor distribution networks

By Cornelius Essen, Sodiq Omolaoye and Matthew Ogune, Abuja
01 August 2018   |   4:22 am
The Federal Government has approved N72 billion to enable Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) step up electricity generation.

• Begins probe of alleged export of $450m pangolin scales to Japan
• ANED requests to meet Fashola over 1.3 trillion tariff gap

The Federal Government has approved N72 billion to enable Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) step up electricity generation.

This is aimed at meeting the need of consumers in the country.

Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mohammed Usman, disclosed this yesterday at a media forum in Abuja.

He said lack of stable power was due to weak distribution network.

Usman, who stated that the efficiency of TCN is not visible because power generated has not been well distributed, said: “80 per cent of electricity consumed in Benin and Togo are coming from Nigeria.

“There is stable power in the two countries and it cannot be said of us. TCN has built and commissioned substations in the country. The solution to uninterrupted power supply is to invest in the distribution companies.”

Besides, he said under-utilisation of power was due to weak equipment, which needed to be rehabilitated.

However, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) has requested for a meeting with the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, in a bid to address a tariff gap estimated to about 1.3 trillion and other issues lingering in the power sector.

Director of Research and Advocacy, ANED, Sunday Oduntan, who made the appeal yesterday in Abuja at a press conference, said the tariff gap in the sector had contributed to the excess of 1.3 trillion that the Discos are carrying on their financial books.

He said that the tariff gap was solely responsible for the debt owed the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) by the Discos, adding that the debt will continue to grow if not properly addressed by the government.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government yesterday said it had initiated investigations into the seizure of about 7,100 kilogrammes of pangolin scales by the Japanese Customs Service.

The pangolin scales, estimated at $450 million, were alleged to have emanated from Nigeria.

Minister of State for Environment, ‎Ibrahim Jibril, who disclosed this while reacting to a media report, said it was the second highest seizure of its kind in recent time.

He stated that the ministry launched the investigation based on the reported illegal trade by communicating officially with the Hong Kong CITES Management Authority with a view to furnish Nigeria with the documents.

According to him, the source could not have been Nigeria as pangolin scales were near extinction in the country.

“Nigeria is being used as a transit route for illegal wildlife trade,” he said.