- says N2.7m gap still exists
Teddy Oscar, Abuja
The minister of Federal Ministry of Power, Prof. Chinedu Ositadimma Nebo, has decried the persisting problem posed by the lack of metering in the nation’s power sector.
Nebo, who hinted that Nigeria still has a metering gap of N2.7 million, told the House of Representatives’ Committee on Power on Tuesday during the defence of the ministry’s 2014 budget proposal that metering is a huge problem that is making it almost impossible for electricity companies to recover their monies.
He observed that more people are using electricity without meters, making it impossible for charges to be made.
“Metering is a wahala for us. We are talking about billions in debt owed to even local manufacturers. NERC (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission) is working hard with regards to that. On my own part, I have given approval that some people be sent to China to investigate, if there are 30,000 meters that have already been manufactured, waiting to be shipped down to Nigeria for that purpose,” he added.
During his submission, Nebo also hinted that the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company Limited (NELMCO) is indebted to between N700 billion to N1 trillion.
He further said that the attainment of 10,000 megawatts of electricity before the end of the year would be possible, if more money would be made available to the ministry.
He stated that the areas of priority for the ministry in the current year include the completion of 215MW Kaduna Power Project, completion of bankable feasibility studies on 17 small and medium hydropower sites and coal-fired power plants at Enugu/Gombe axis.
Other pursuits of the ministry, according to him, are to fast track the development of 70MW Zenguru hydropower projects, fast track Operation Electrify Nigeria Project (OENP), development of the power component of 40MW Kashimbilla multiple purpose dam, and fast track the completion of the power component of 34MW Dandinkowa Dam in Gombe State among others.
The ministry, with six other agencies, including the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Rural Electrification Agency (REA), NERC, National Power Training Institute (NAPTIN), NELMCO and Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET), made a budget proposal of N92,151,500,000.00, but got a budget envelop of N59,051,290,389.00.
This was, by far, less than what it gat in the 2013 budget – N73,159,378,866.00.
“Though the present administration inherited significant constraints in the power sector and still it gave highest priority attention to provision of adequate, reliable and affordable power to Nigerians.
“The ministry was allocated the sum of N78.4 billion in 2012 (N75.5 billion for capital and N2.95 billion for recurrent). However, the sum of N34.76 billion for capital and NN2.95 billion for recurrent only were released.
“In 2013, N77.55 billion was allocated (N73.2 billion for capital and N4.2 billion for recurrent). Releases in 2013 were N34.79 billion for capital and N4.2 billion for recurrent,” he said.
Details of the budget showed that N20,592,094,44 was proposed for the main ministry, N24,912,292,467 for TCN, while N7,461,202,582 is for REA.
Similarly, the sum of N1,750,000,000 was proposed for NERC, N2,607,856,489 for NAPTIN, while N585,344,402 and N1,142,500,000 were mapped out for NELMCO and NBET, respectively.