The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) said a balance of N90.4 billion power sector intervention fund by Federal Government is yet to be disbursed.
The Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers Committee in 2014 announced an N213 billion Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility for the power sector.
The N213 billion facilities unveiled on November 18, 2014, was to help offset the legacy gas debts, address revenue shortfall in the sector and improve electricity supply to Nigerians.
The facility, which was part of the initiatives to support the reforms in the power sector, was to be repaid within a 10-year period by beneficiary operators in the industry.
However, with over N120 billion already disbursed in tranches to sector operators by CBN, there were about N90.4 billion to be disbursed according to the ANED.
On why the sector was yet to record a significant improvement in spite of government interventions, Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy of ANED, said the government has been quite supportive.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday that given the current electricity market shortfall and the envisaged further shortfalls, the balance of N90.4billion yet to be disbursed would not address the huge shortfalls.
He said, “When Government say the fund has been made available to operators, it is true, but what people need to know is which fund, how much, what is the funding gap.
“We are not saying the government is not making an effort, for example, the major intervention fund that we had was a loan given by the CBN administered by the Federal Government.
“Up till now, they are still disbursing and not everybody has received it.
“As I am talking to you the balance that is yet to be disbursed is N90.4 billion that is the balance of NEMSF.
“It is supposed to be NEMSF 1 and NEMSF 2, but we are still on NEMS 1, that is yet to be fully disbursed.”
He said that the facility from the CBN and the huge debts own Discos by government agencies constituted part of the deficit in the balance sheet of the Discos.
He said the shortfall cannot be shifted to the electricity consumers in the form of increased tariff, adding that consumers could not afford to pay for a higher tariff with N18,000 minimum wage.