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Confusion as two figures emerge on FG’s debt to Discos

Disquiet is brewing between the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) over the exact amount owed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Whereas the Discos say their total debts remain N90bn, the Minister, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, on Thursday, disagreed arguing that the only verified debt was about N27 billion.

The Minister who spoke in Jos at the 3rd National Council on Power, with theme; ‘Completing the Power Sector Reform’, claimed “There are invoices which show that other parts of the debt are attributable to service points at States and local governments.”

He noted that the issues of debt disparity are some of the reform actions contained in the Power Sector Recovery Programme being undertaken at Federal Government level.

However, “there are other areas of Reform where progress will be defined by what happens at the state and Local Government and this is one of the reasons why we chose to discuss this theme at this council where all the states are represented”.

“For example, out of the estimated MDA debts of about N90Billion claimed by the DISCOs, only aboutN27Billion has been verified as debts owed by the FGN.

“I will urge first that states and local governments insist that their buildings are metered so that they can budget for and pay for energy they use. It will turn out to be cheaper than diesel generated power. It will also help reduce loss of income by DISCOs.

Continuing, Fashola urged state Governments to set up small teams with audit capacity to verify debts owed by them and their local governments, ascertain the quantum and develop a payment plan which can then be budgeted for. This will help to reduce the liquidity issues and contribute to the reforms.

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