The minister of power, works and housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola has said that federal government will offset all genuine electricity debts to power generation companies to enable them proceed with their plan of improve supply.
Fashola particularly assured of the settlement of the N47 billion debt it owed Egbin Power Plc, just as he admitted that the new owners of the plant, the Sahara Group, has done creditably well to rehabilitate the thermal station.
The minister, who spoke while performing the evacuation of the 200 megawatts (mw) excess capacity for both Ikeja and Eko Electricity Distribution Companies in Lagos, said that the process will improve supply in the state.
“I realised that the power sector needs to be sufficiently funded. When I assumed office, one of the first things I did was to check what the Ministry of Power was owing and I am happy that we were not owing anything. We are working with other ministries to settle their outstanding too. I want to assure you that we will pay debts that are legally incurred and are verifiable.
“As government, we have to demonstrate clear commitment to encourage other power consumers to pay,” he said, and stated further that everyone must pay what they are owing.
“We will ensure that the debts are liquidated without distorting the system,” he said, urging industry regulators to brace up to promote efficiency in the sector.
“If the Eko and Ikeja discos are ready to take power and dedicate it to special buyers who are ready to pay slightly higher tariffs, the regulators must begin to work on this to accommodate willing buyers and sellers. The public should know this and must be ready for the change,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of Egbin Power, Mr Kola Adesina, stated that “at the point of take over two years ago, we invested $500 million and an additional N45 billion has been spent to overhaul the plants which were never overhauled over 30 years after it was built.
“As at today, the federal government is owing us N47 billion. If you can support us and ensure the payment of the debt, we will appreciate it and be able to do more,” Adesina said.
The director-general, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Benjamin Dikki, implored Nigerians to be patient while assuring that the privatisation of the power sector will work if the telecoms sector can work.
According to him, “The telecoms sector worked because the regulators nurtured the market and investors came in. If regulators can nurture the power sector market too, investors will bring in more money and invest.” he said.
Source : Leadership