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Fashola warns Discos against ‘debt blackmail’, excuses for poor supplies

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has warned Power Distribution Companies (Discos) against using cheap blackmail to avoid investing heavily in the delivery of their services nationwide.

In anger, the minister said giving excuses with paucity of fund cased by huge debt by government agencies can no longer be considered by government or Nigerians as excuses for abysmal performance in power supply.

While insisting that government would not succumb to such blackmail, but only pay verified debts, he urged the operators to pursue the debt issue in their capacities as DisCos, not under any association.

The Minister pointed out that although the Constitution guaranteed freedom of association, the privatisation exercise that led to the transfer of power distribution assets was not held between the Federal Government and any association, but 11 individual companies.

Speaking at the 10th monthly meeting with Power Sector Operators in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Wednesday, Fashola expressed disappointment that the companies had placed advertorials under the aegis of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distribution Companies, but failed to tell Nigerians the whole truth about the debts.

Apart from the so called debts, part of the concession agreement sealed with government in 2013 was that the Discos will invest billion of naira in each of their locations, but since then, no appreciable volume of investment has been noticed, rather they are ever ready to hike tariffs which Nigerians have constantly resisted.