The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distribution Companies (ANEDC) has said that a balance of N90.4 billion of the Federal Government’s intervention fund for the power sector is yet to be disbursed.
The Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers Committee in 2014 announced a N213 billion Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF) for the power sector.
The N213 billion facilities launched on Nov. 18, 2014, was to help offset the legacy gas debts, address revenue shortfall in the sector and improve electricity supply to Nigerians.
The facility, which was part of the initiatives to support the reforms in the power sector, was to be repaid within a 10-year period by beneficiary operators in the industry.
With over N120 billion already disbursed in tranches to sector operators by the CBN there were about N90.4 billion to be disbursed according the ANEDC.
On why the sector was yet to record a significant improvement in spite of government interventions, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy of the ANEDC, Mr Sunday Oduntan, said the Federal Government had quite supportive.
Oduntan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday that given the current electricity market shortfall and the envisaged further shortfalls, the balance of N90.4billion yet to be disbursed would not address the huge shortfalls.
“When Government say fund has been made available to operators, it is true, but what people need to know is which fund, how much, what is the funding gap.
“We are not saying government is not making an effort, for example the major intervention fund that we had was a loan given by the CBN administered by the Federal Government.
“ Uptill now, they are still disbursing and not everybody has received it.
“As I am talking to you the balance that are yet to be disbursed is N90.4 billion that is the balance of NEMSF.
“It is supposed to be NEMSF 1 and NEMSF 2, but we are still on NEMS 1, that is yet to be fully disbursed.”
He said that the facility from the CBN and the huge debts own DISCOS by government agencies constituted part of the deficit in the balance sheet of the DISCOS.
According to him, the electricity market will experience further shortfalls.
Oduntan said that efforts should be made to save the sector through the injection of more funds.
“By the end of December, the total short fall will be N809.8 billion that is the industry short fall for the entire value chain.
“When you have these shortfalls, like this, monies that are ought to be paid and remain in the sector are not there.
He said the shortfall cannot be shifted to the electricity consumers in the form of increased tariff, adding that consumers could not afford to pay for a higher tariff with N18,000 minimum wage.
“ We will be deceiving ourselves if we the DISCOS think we can do something about it. The only thing that we can do is that government must look for a way of helping the sector further.
He said the stopped N309 billion bond that government planned to float would go a long way to help in addressing the huge market shortfalls in the sector. (NAN)