Tinubu Grants Approval To Defray N130Bn Power Sector Debts

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has approved the submission of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, (Gas), Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo to defray the outstanding debts owed to the gas suppliers for power generation in the country.

President Tinubu has also given approval for the settlement of the protracted N1.3 trillion legal debts in the sector.

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The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu who disclosed this at the ongoing Africa Energy Market Place (AEMP) Nigeria, 2024 on Thursday in Abuja, said, the debts would be settled from the gas supply stabilisation fund.

Chief Adelabu explained that the payment of the legacy debts would be made, but from future royalties and exchange of incomes in the gas subsector, which is quite satisfactory to the gas supply companies.

He maintained that the payment of N1.3trillion debts owed to the power generating companies was approved by the President but on a condition of reconciliation between the federal government and the companies.

While acknowledging that the reconciliation has been successfully done, and being signed off by both parties, the Minister noted that the modalities for paying will be in two ways; one through cash and another through a guarantee debt instrument, preferably, a promissory note.

Speaking on the ongoing reforms in the sector, Chief Adelabu stated that the reform of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) is ongoing, and the government is also contemplating reforms in the distribution space for effective and efficient service delivery.

According to him, the second reforms needed is the recapitalisation of the Distribution Companies, noting that there is no business in this world that survives without capital.

He said, “apart from the acquisition capital, which is paid to the seller of the business, the business itself needs a lot of capital to run, this actually one of the flaws of execution or implementation of the privatisation Process. We focused more on the acquisition capital, which is the money paid by the investors to the federal government for taking up these structures”.

Also speaking, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas pledged the House’s commitment to the success of the reforms in the power sector.

He noted that reforms usually come with pains, therefore, Nigerians must be ready to sacrifice in order to get the desired change in the sector.

Represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Power, Hon. Victor Nwokolo, the Speaker said, the problem of the sector is that of funding, therefore, appealed to the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support the sector.

He said, without stable power supply, no meaningful progress would be made, so expressed the willingness of the house to support any initiative targeted at improving the power supply in the country.

Earlier, in his Opening Remarks, the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engr. Sanusi Garba affirmed that the implementation of the power sector reform initiatives requires a very strong political will, adding that the problem has been the inability of the stakeholders to state the sector challenges the way they are.

The Dialogue with the theme: “Towards Nigeria’s Sustainable Energy Future: Policy, Regulation, and Investment – A Policy Dialogue for the National Integrated Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan (NIEP-SIP)”, which was organised by the African Development Bank in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power, the United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Firm, has participants drawn from across the country, and Africa.

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