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FG okays N600b for power sector

The Federal Government has approved N600 billion  to be injected into the nation’s electricity market,  Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said on Wednesday.

Speaking with reporters at the Market Operator’s (MO) Participants/Key Stakeholders 2019 Third Quarter Interactive Forum in Abuja, its MO, Edmund Eje, said the fund would be disbursed soon.

According to him, the intervention is for the payment of the shortfall in electricity invoices for the entire market.

He said the intervention is not restricted to a single chain in the market, but a holistic one.

He said: “The intervention is at a very advanced level. It has been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Eje recalled that since 2015, the outstanding bill that the distribtution companies (DisCos) have recorded is about N250 billion.

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Meanwhile, the decision was that government should not reverse the privatisation of the distribution firms, it would rather invoke its regulation force to whip the debtors into line.

He added that from May this year, the MO resolved that every market participant must ensure that his books are up to date or they would be informed to pay up or face a fine of N5.6million after five days.

Eje noted that should the company fail to pay up in another five days, it would result in its suspension from the market.

He said: “The outstanding bill on the DisCos is approximately N250billion. Until May when we said okay, instead of allowing the government to say we are going to fold the privatisation completely, let us use regulation out of the way. If you fail out of the way, you will not blame the government to say the government has seized your license.

“From May we said every participant in the market has to pay 100 per cent. For paying  100 per cent, you will also mention that your bank guarantee is updated. Now, those of them that were not updated require a fine. We will inform them that it invoked a fine of N5.6million.

“And you are given five days to fix whatever the default and within that five days you are expected to update your bank guarantee if it is not, you also make it good. If you fail to do it within these five days, we suspend you from the market.

“Now market will empower the market operator to disconnect you from the grid. Now you know it is difficult to disconnect a distribution company from the grid you have obedient companies who have been paying.”