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Power: Don’t take $3 billion World Bank loan, Analysts tell Buhari

…Say FG must account for sector’s revenue generation

By Chris Ochayi – Abuja

The Association for Public Policy Analysis, APPA, has challenged the Federal Government to make public, the details of revenue generated from the electricity supply by the Distribution Companies, DISCOs since the last five years when the power assets were privatised.

Power: Don’t take $3 million World Bank loan, Analysts tell Buhari
BEIJING, CHINA – SEPTEMBER 5: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari talks to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (not pictured) during their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, September 5, 2018. (Photo by Parker Song – Pool/Getty Images)

The APPA, which thrashed Federal Government’s plan to secure over $3 billion World Bank loan for the power sector, said the government must justify the impact of the previous money it borrowed to fund the power sector in the last five years.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the National President, APPA, Comrade Princewill Okorie, warned the Federal Government against adding more debt burden on the country he said coughing out N2.45 trillion to service loans yearly.

Okorie challenged the government to encourage the Independent Electricity Distribution Networks to function optionally in the face of the abysmal performance of the electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs.

APPA argued that the option will stir competition among private investors rather than government continually borrowing to drive power generation, transmission and distribution.

According to him, “Rather than collect the loans which increase Nigeria’s debt profile and eat up a large chunk of the federal budget in debt servicing like 2020 budget proposal that has appropriated the sum of N2.45 trillion for debt servicing, effort should be made to encourage the Independent Electricity Distribution Networks to function optionally.

“The advantage in this is that Federal or State Government will not borrow to fund the generation, transmission and distribution.

“In fact, through willing buyer and willing seller, they operate in a peaceful, transparent way with the consumers without the corrupt practices of estimated billing without following estimated billing methodology, disconnection without notice, collection of illegal reconnection fees, failure to repair fault contrary to customer service standard of performance for distribution companies, unlawful act perpetrated with impunity in contravention of Electricity Power Sector Reform Act.”

He added that “It is most unpatriotic that DISCOs supported with government funds, irrespective of the existing privatisation policy have the penchant for operating in an inefficient manner that abuse rights of Nigerians to efficient and affordable electricity with excuses of inadequate funding and inadequate tariff.”

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He noted, “The situation calls to question, why donors and development agencies like the world bank that belief in the principle of good governance will be dishing out loans for power sector without getting consumer enumeration on the impact of the performance of the DISCO, GENCOS, TCN etc on Nigeria consumers.

“As we speak, there is no publicly known data of the number of metered and unmetered consumers and no information on the amount of money generated by DISCO from consumers through estimated billing.

“World bank and loan givers for Nigerians’ inefficient power should, in understanding of privation, protection of consumers from abuses and the need to create jobs effort that aim at encouragement power sector through survey and mapping on the performing ones, fund consumer enumeration and education.”

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He said micro, small and medium enterprises will enjoy efficient and affordable stable electricity supply like is happening in areas where some license independent electricity network are operating, productivity is enhanced which lead to income generally capacity of many MSMEs who will create jobs and taxes and rates to shore up government revenue.

“In our opinion, rather that keeps that borrowing money and sinking it into national grid areas that have over the years failed to yield commensurate result, bottlenecks affecting the functionality of independent electricity distribution.”

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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