Niger, Benin Republic pay $64.6m electricity debt

Nigeria recovers $64.63m electricity debt from Benin, Niger

Nigeria recovers $64.63m electricity debt from Benin, Niger

Nigeria has made some significant progress in its attempt to recover millions of dollars owed its electricity industry by two of her West African neighbours-Benin and Niger Republics- for electricity supplied to them, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed.

The minister added that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) would work out modalities for distribution of the recovered fund to stakeholders in the power sector value chain.

The minister also announced that Rural Electrification Agency (REA) had completed guidelines for the operation of the rural electrification fund.

The minister claimed that a lot of power projects have been completed and inaugurated by the government to boost electricity supply across the country, adding that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) which used to be termed the weakest link in the sector has also upgraded its capacity and would continue to do that with lots of projects lined up for completion.

"By way of explanation, the rural electrification fund was created by section 88 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) of 2005 to promote support and provide rural electrification access".

"The fund will provide a partial single payment capital subsidy and or technical assistance to eligible private Rural Power Developers, NGOs or communities to invest in options such as hybrid mini grids or solar home systems to scale up rural access to electricity", he said. What they are likely to get are minimum amounts of $10,000 (N3.5m) and maximum amounts of $300,000.

He said that progress was also being recorded at the distribution levels.

On further measures to improve power supply in the coverage areas of the Benin DisCos, Fashola said Asaba - Benin 330KV line was energized to service on November 3.

According to him, "Today, not even your worst critics can deny that his experience is improving, even if he may be reluctant to acknowledge it, which is his prerogative". Your honesty inspires us to continue.

Asaba 330kv substation is now being fed from both Benin and Onitsha.

The federal government had in recent times repeatedly called on neigbouring West African countries that are its global customers to endeavour to pay up their bills to enable Nigeria invest more in power and stabilise supply at local as well as worldwide levels.

On estimated billing and metering, he also explained that government and sector operators were anxiously awaiting the guidelines from the regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to open up the meter supply business.

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