Nigerian Senate Stalls N309bn Electricity Bond

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Nigerian Senate on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to stop plans to raise N309 billion bond to finance electricity generation in the country to erase recorded shortfall in projected power availability.

The senate said that the government should put the plan on hold pending conclusion of an investigation into the matter by its committees on Power and Privatisation.

This followed a motion which was sponsored by Sen. Mustapha Bukar, which was unanimously agreed by the house.

Moving the motion, Bukar said that there was no need for the bond after the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) intervention in March to the tune of N213 billion through the Nigeria Electricity Sector Intervention (NESI).

The lawmaker said that the shortfall in power generation had continued to increase at the rate of about N15 billion per month which was equivalent to N500 million daily.

He said the total shortfall as at Dec. 31, 2015, was N400 billion.

His words, “Continued incidence of a market shortfall is a disincentive for new investors to venture into the Nigerian electricity market.

“This implies that the projected generating capacity is an illusion. As a matter of fact, any increment in generating capacity would further aggravate and escalate the market shortfall,” he added.

He argued that the issuance of bonds would amount to not only spoon-feeding the operators in spite of their inefficiency but at great cost to Nigeria.

The senate called on the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to immediately stop the raising of the bonds by Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).

Therefore, the senate mandated its committees to investigate the post-privatization performance of all the players in the power sector.

The committees were also directed to probe the companies’ performance agreement, including the management and disbursement of any loans or bonds of agencies in the sector. 

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