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Fashola collides states, Discos in N40bn electricity debts

Having observed that bulk of the debts owed Discos stemmed from states’ electricity consumption by their MDAs, the Federal Government has charged electricity distribution companies to engage state governments in order to collect the outstanding electricity debt amounting to about N40bn.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola had penultimate Wednesday, after the Federal Executive Council announced the approved the verified sum of N25.9bn as the Federal Government MDAs’ debts, and its payment will be by setting it off against the debts owed by the Discos to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company.

However, at the 20th power sector meeting, Fashola revealed that the outstanding MDAs’ debt of about N40bn should be verified with the state governments, as the Federal Government had successfully verified what its MDAs owed the Discos.

According to him, “If you engage them (state governments) properly, they can help you to verify debts that are owed so that the payment plan can be developed. Out of the claims that you submitted to us, we found out that only a part of those claims related to Federal Government agencies. So what we have verified does not mean that there may not be legitimate claims in respect of the unverified N40bn.

“But the truth is that it is not the Federal Government’s responsibility; some of them are owed by state governments, local governments and their MDAs. So, there’s a lot of work that you also need to do to engage and interface with them so that they can undertake this kind of verification, clean their records and pay off the debts.”

Continuing, the minister said “I will like to urge you (Discos) to continue to liaise with the various state governments where your operations are based so that they can assist you in enforcing the law against energy theft, because you will need their support. They can also assist you in protecting and granting right of way for the expansion of your business”.