02 January 2015, Abuja – The Federal Government spent about N500 billion to settle liabilities and debts that threatened to truncate the power sector reform, Supervising Minister of Information, Dr. Nuruddeen Mohammed, has said.
Mohammed who said this at a press briefing on the nation’s economy in Abuja on Wednesday also disclosed that the government was in discussion to buy power from several organisations that generate more electricity than they need to run their businesses.
Some of the forces that threatened to frustrate the reform in the power sector that had to be settled were workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria that wanted their payoffs before the sale of the successor companies could continue.
The minister said, “The Federal Government expended close to N500 Billion to settle debts/payoffs, to allow progress in the power sector.
“The Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria has provided a N213bn power sector intervention facility, to be disbursed to generation and distribution companies, as well as gas suppliers.
“The funds are intended to take care of legacy debts that had hampered the operations of the new players in the power industry. The CBN, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and deposit money banks in the country have since signed a disbursement agreement in respect of the intervention fund.”
He added, “In order to get stranded power unto the grid, the Ministry of Power is coordinating negotiations with companies willing to generate power and export to the grid. These companies include: Ajaokuta Steel Company (85MW); ASCON (100MW); Lafarge Cement (40MW); and Kaduna Refinery (33.5MW).
– The Punch