Power: House investigates Discos over N213bn intervention fund

Oscarline Onwuemenyi
28 April 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The House of Representatives has said it will investigate the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) over the N213 billion intervention fund provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (ÇBN) last year through the Nigerian Electricity Sector Intervention (NESI) facility.

The investigation followed the opposition of the lawmakers to a plan to borrow another N309b through a Federal Government secured bond.

The bond, according to the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, was to cover the electricity market shortfall of N187b in 2015 and a projected shortfall of N122b for this year.

The lawmakers were at a loss on the justification for the bond, which translates to Nigerians bearing the operational loss of private electricity companies despite paying their electricity bill.

Consequently, the utilisation of the N213 billion intervention fund has been committed to Committees on Power, Privatisation and Commercialisation, Aids, Loans and Debts Management.

The House also directed NERC to devise a monitoring mechanism to measure and enforce full monthly remittances by the Discos.

The lawmakers also urged the regulatory body to recoup all misappropriated funds that resulted in the accumulated market shortfalls and apply sanctions for any default whatsoever, including the threat to withdraw the licenses of erring firms.

The decision of the House followed the adoption of a motion by Hon. Edward Pwajok who regretted that power sector operators have not lived to the expectations of Nigerian with their poor services in spite of increasing tariffs twice since 2013.

Noting that distribution companies (Discos) have severally failed to remit revenues collected to other market participants in full, Pwajok added, “Tariff computation was a factor of capital investment that which was considered during the privatisation exercise, but regrettable there is no evidence that the Discos and Gencos invested in acquiring any tangible assets.”

The House of Representatives yesterday went into a closed door session over the 2016 budget impasse.

The session which lasted over two hours featured discussions on the budget and how to address the “grey areas” as agreed with the President Muhammadu Buhari in an earlier meeting he had with the principal officers of the National Assembly.

The Speaker was said to have told members that three committees have been set up from the Senate, House and the Executive to work on the details to ensure a speedy transmission to the President to allow him assent to it with the next few days.

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