The Federal Government spends N50 billion monthly to subsidise electricity, the Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman, has disclosed.
According to a statement by Mr Mamman’s Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Aaron Artimas, the minister made the disclosure while receiving members of the Hausa Guild of Actors and Film Producers, otherwise known as Kannywood.
According to him, the funds are provided to augment the shortfall by the Distribution Companies which have failed to defray the cost of bulk electricity supplied to them by the Generating Companies.
“However, following a minor increase in the tariff regime, the subsidy has now decreased by half, but still constitutes a serious drain on the nation’s economy,” the minister stated.
Mr Mamman expressed concern over the failure by the Distribution Companies to stabilize their operations to meet their financial obligations to other players in the sector.
He said: “Nigerians must understand that these companies were privatized long before the advent of this administration but the government has no alternative than to continue managing the sector before a final solution is secured.
“Government is diligently working to massively resolve all these inherited problems that have continuously frustrated the success of the sector”.
The minister noted that most of the DisCos were sold off and managed as family businesses which had made it difficult to be professionally managed, but that despite this apparent difficulty the Government cannot roll back the privatization process.
Mr Mamman, however, said that while some of these problems persist, remarkable performance and progress have been achieved by the Federal Government, as the supply of electricity has stabilized at over 5,000 Megawatts, up from less than 4,000 Megawatts before President Muhammadu Buhari came to power.
On metering, Mr Mamman explained that although it was the responsibility of the Distribution Companies to provide the meters, saying that the Federal Government had stepped-in in view of the public outcry overestimated billings. He said the Federal Government was committed to supplying over six million meters free of charge to Nigerians.
He said about one million meters have already been delivered for distribution while the rest is being awaited.
The minister, therefore, called on the DisCos to expedite the distribution of meters free of charge to their consumers as a way of lessening their problems.