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Tony Attah
Acting CEO/Chairman of NREC, Dr. Anthony Akah

Senate halts proposed sale of N309m bond for NERC

The Senate, yesterday, ordered the Federal Government to stop the proposed sale of bonds worth N309 billion to finance the shortfall in the Nigerian electricity market.

The motion was sponsored by Mustapha Bukar, who is the Senator representing President Muhammadu Buhari in the Nigerian Senate.

Adopting the resolutions of the motion, the Senate urged the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to immediately halt the raising of the bonds by Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).

It also resolved and mandated the committees on Power and Privatization to investigate the post-privatization performance of the All players in the power sector in line with their performance agreement including the management and disbursement of any loans or bonds of the sector agencies.

Senator Bukar said in his motion that the planned borrowing was being muted, despite interventions by the government, such as the 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 further noted that the shortfall has continued to escalate at the rate of about N15 billion per month which is equivalent to N500 million daily. He said the total shortfall as at December 31st, 2015, stood at N400 billion.

“Continued incidence of market shortfall is a disincentive for new investors to venture their Nigerian electricity market. This implies that the projected generating capacity is an illusion. As a matter of fact, any increment in generating capacity would further aggravate and escalate the market shortfall,” he added.

Senator Bukar argued that the issuance of bonds will amount to not only spoon-feeding the operators in spite of their inefficiency, but at great cost to Nigerians as the risk of default would cause the crystallization of the Federal Government Sovereign Guarantee and lead to national energy crisis after now.

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