- Verify Debts Owed Discos, Fashola Tells State Govts
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has urged state governments to set up small teams with audit capacities to verify debts allegedly owed by them and their local governments, and develop a payment plan that can be budgeted for.
Fashola, who gave the advice on Thursday in Jos, Plateau State, at a meeting of the National Council on Power, said this would help to reduce the liquidity issues and contribute to the reforms in the power sector.
He said out of the debts of about N90bn that the electricity distribution companies claimed were owed by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, only about N27bn had been verified as being owed by the Federal Government.
The minister stated, “There are invoices which show that other parts of the debt are attributable to service points at states and local governments.
“I will urge first that states and local governments insist that their buildings are metered so that they can budget for and pay for the energy they use. It will turn out to be cheaper than diesel-generated power. It will also help reduce loss of income by the Discos.”
According to Fashola, the work that needs to be done in the power sector is largely the responsibility of the private sector.
“Our role as governmental institutions at federal and state levels is to implement the laws, enunciate policies and take actions that help the private sector play its part effectively,” he said.
He noted that there had been comments about how effective privatisation had been in the power sector, adding that some people had called for its cancellation, which he disagreed with.
“However, I agree that there are problems; I understand that four years post-privatisation is a transition period, and more work needs to be done before the expected benefits of privatisation come to fruition,” he added.