FG’s N701b intervention not enough in power sector, says NERC
• Discos meet Fashola for bailout
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said the recently approved N701 billion Federal Government intervention fund to the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc is not sufficient in the power sector.
The Vice Chairman of NERC, Sanusi Garba, stated this yesterday while responding to questions from The Guardian through the email. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) during its meeting recently approved N701 billion payments guarantee fund to NBET to enable it pay for power generated by the power generating companies (GenCos) nationwide.
The fund is to be drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the NBET in arrears of payments for actual power generated and purchased by the electricity bill trader.
NERC’s response coincided with a meeting between the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, representatives of NERC, CBN and some owners of power distribution companies (Discos), who were seeking for bailout loan from the CBN.
“The N701 billion fund approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) is necessary but not sufficient intervention for resolving the liquidity challenge in the power sector. Other regulatory interventions would be enforced by the regulatory commission,” NERC said.
Although the outcome of the meeting could not be ascertained yesterday, The Guardian learnt that the minister was disposed to bailing out the DisCos.
He was quoted as saying: “They do not have the financial resources to deal with the critical infrastructure. They are running a business, they too are being owed and they owe people. They owe banks. The meeting we just finished here was on efforts to give them loans (some of them) to pay their debts.
“Who will give them loans to supply you transformers, who will give them loans to repair the damaged distribution lines? Nobody will give them money.”