The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) has said it is in support of the Federal Government’s plan to tie payment of DISCOs debt to their commitment to install meters in Ministry, Department and Agencies of government (MDAs).
The Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo-led Federal Government had released the economic recovery and growth plan (ERGP) to salvage the country’s dwindling economy. The growth plan was released on Tuesday.
Speaking with Oil and Gas Republic’s Contributing Author, Adedinni Ayobami, said it is in support of the plan and ready to meter whichever among them is yet to be metered adding that most of the MDAs are metered.
In his words, “I can confirm to you that most MDAs are already metered. Those ones that are not yet metered will be metered. So, we agree to that proposition. We have no objection at all because the problem with the MDAs is not a problem of metering but a culture of impunity and nonpayment over the years.
“So, we are in support of that proposition. We will be very glad to meter whoever among them is yet to be metered. But I can assure you that over 90% of them are metered,” he said.
According to him, the issue at hand is that the MDAs debt must be paid and that there should be a direct deduction from their budget to pay their bills
On issue that the government will introduce cost-reflective electricity tariffs which could mean a higher tariff to end users, he said, “That depends on the government and the regulator. Let me put it this way:
“If I am buying a product for N68 and I am allowed to sell it for N31. If we are talking about cost reflective, that means I should be paid N68 because that is what I am buying it for. But that does not mean we need to pass it down to the end user. It is either we pass the N68 to the end user or government finds a way to fill the shortfall between N31.50 and N68.
When asked if that is a call for subsidy in the power sector, he said government could exploit other ways other than that to fund the liquidity crises in the sector.
He said, “There a lot of ways through which you can fund the shortfall not necessarily by subsidy. When people talk about subsidy, they are talking of free money. We are not asking for subsidy but we are asking government to do something about it.
“It is not our job to tell them what to do about it. I am just saying that it does not mean that you will pack the whole lot to the customers. We are looking at current economic reality.
“Let me tell you something about bill payment when you look at our DISCOs in those states where the government is owing civil servants live because there is a connect between people’s earning power and their ability to pay electricity usage bills. In the same vein, somebody who is on minimum wage is more likely to fail to pay the whole of his bill for a month.
“When somebody is earning N18, 000 monthly, that same person may not be able to pay N5, 000 electricity bills. When you look at that, we are not unaware of that. We are not a hapless organization,” he added.
The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), a Medium Term Plan for 2017 – 2020, builds on the
SIP and has been developed for the purpose of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people – the nation’s most priceless assets. It is also articulated with the understanding that the role of government in the 21st century must evolve from that of being an omnibus provider of citizens’ needs into a force for eliminating the bottlenecks that impede innovation and market based solutions. The Plan also recognizes the need to leverage Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and build a knowledge-based economy.