Senate Set To Probe N213bn Power Fund

Senate President, Bukola
Saraki, has called on the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy to conduct a public hearing into declining electricity generation in the country which currently stands at 3000 megawatts capacity.
The Public Hearing is also expected to verify claims and counter claims of non-remittance of revenues between the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs), as well as uncover how the apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disbursed the N213 billion Power Intervention Fund (PIF) to the power sector.
While speaking, Saturday, at a special stakeholders’ meeting on the worsening electricity generation in the country, Saraki mandated that the public hearing should look at the role of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) which serves as Board members in the DISCOs and GENCOs, thereby making it difficult for the BPE to effectively supervise and audit the electricity generation and distribution companies.
The Senate President lamented the poor electricity supply in Nigeria and the consequences of the negative development on efforts to move the nation out of the present economic recession.
He explained that the essence of the meeting was to proffer solutions to the imminent collapse of the electricity system in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Louis Edozien, who led the power stakeholders to the meeting lamented that power generation had gone down to 3000 Mw/H from a 7000MW/H generating capacity with a 12000MW/H connected load.
Edozien further stated that there was poor and declining revenue collection capacity as the DISCOs are remitting about 45 per cent of collectable revenue instead of the performance agreement target of 65 per cent.
He listed low tariff and what he described as ‘payment transparency and discipline’ as some of the challenges facing electricity generation and distribution.
In their own contributions, representatives of gas producers and suppliers, consisting mostly of Shell Petroleum and Total Petroleum Companies traced their inability to supply adequate gas to GENCOs to vandalisation and inability of GENCOs to pay for supplied products.
They insisted that the terms of gas supply and payment are on the basis of willing sellers and buyers.
However, the meeting was shocked when representative of NBET, Dr Marilyn Amobi, who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the organization revealed that the DISCOs can’t account for most of the revenue remitted to it by consumers due to corruption.
She disclosed that revenue generated by NBET was better before the liberalization exercise when compared to post-liberalisation period and blamed it on lack of proper accountability and supervision of the DISCOs by BPE as well as lack of proper auditing.