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4 months after notice, Niger, Benin begin payment of electricity debts

Four months after the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) jointly sent notice of debts to power firms of the Republics of Benin and Niger, demanding the payment of an outstanding $115.91m (about N35.4bn at the official exchange rate of N305 to a dollar) for electricity supplied, about N19.712bn ($64,630,055:00) has been recovered.

However, an outstanding balance of $51.28million is still hanging

This was made public by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, in his remarks at the 21st monthly power sector operators meeting held on Monday.

Business Hilights learnt that the letter was written to NIGELEC of the Republic of Niger and Community Electric du Benin of the Republic of Benin.

Representatives of NBET had informed participants at the August power sector meeting that a report on international customer payments for electricity had been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

During the August meeting, the report had full details of the outstanding amounts owed by CEB, $101.46m; and NIGELEC, $14.45m.

The same debt was further confirmed in the minutes of the recent 17th power sector meeting, which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja.

Abridged details of the August minutes, quoted a representative of the power bulk trading firm as saying that “NBET and the TCN jointly forwarded a letter to CEB and NIGELEC requesting them to pay the reconciled amounts.”

“He (the representative) stated that NBET and the TCN were planning to attend a meeting at CEB’s headquarters in Lome, Togo, to finalise and execute the power sale agreement currently being negotiated and to prevail on CEB to immediately effect the outstanding payment at the meeting.

“He also informed the meeting that NBET and the TCN had agreed on a new sharing formula on the outstanding amounts from CEB and NIGELEC.”

It would be recalled that the Republics of Benin and Niger paid $159,773,116.61 (N48.84bn at the official exchange rate of N305.7 to a dollar) as electricity charges to NBET.

Also, the Federal Government had at the time stated that both countries had a combined balance of $92,315,986.20 (N28.22bn) to pay to NBET, adding that the payments made were remitted to the power generation companies and service providers in Nigeria.

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