FG Recovers N23bn Electricity Debts From Benin, Niger Republics

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By NOSA ERESOYEN, Asaba and ABAH ADAH, Abuja –

The federal government has recovered $64,630,055:00 (N23billion) from her international customers in Benin Republic and the Republic of Niger.

Minister of Power, orks and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this yesterday at the 31st power sector stakeholders monthly meeting hosted by Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) in Asaba, Delta State.

He also noted that the Nigerian Electricity Bulk Trader (NBET) will work out modalities for distribution.

The federal government had in recent times repeatedly called on neigbouring West African countries that are its international customers to endeavour to pay up their bills to enable Nigeria invest more in power and stabilise supply at local as well as international levels.

Fashola also hinted that the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) had completed the guidelines for the operation of the rural electrification fund, which will help vulnerable groups and communities gain access to funding to support their electricity development programme.

The minister said the fund will provide a partial single payment capital subsidy and technical assistance to eligible private rural power developers, NGOs or communities to invest in options such as hybrid mini grids or solar home systems to scale up rural access to electricity.

“Those who will be served are the unserved and underserved Rural Communities. What they are likely to get are minimum amounts of $10,000 (N3.5m) and maximum amounts of $300,000. (N106m) or 75% of project cost, whichever is less”, he said, adding that REA will publish details of guidelines and eligibility in due course.

Hinting that the ministry signed the EPC contract for the Mambilla Hydro power project, Fashola said the New Asaba Main 2x15MVA injection substation among other recently or soon to be commissioned projects is a pointer to the fact that huge progress is being made in the journey towards incremental, steady and uninterrupted power.

He also announced that federal government will make available a total of N37 billion to address challenges in the supply of meters to customers.

The minister explained REA has  completed the guidelines for the operation of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) where rural power developers would  get from N3.5 million to N106 million to improve rural electricity.