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Govt Can’t Continue to Subsidise Electricity, Malians, Others Pay More Than Nigerians – Minister

Posted by Thandiubani on Fri 15th Mar, 2024 -

The minister also mentioned that the challenges facing the electricity sector are not unconquerable if all stakeholders play their roles effectively.

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu has said that the federal government cannot continue to subsidize electricty.
He claimed that citizens of other African countries, including Guinea, Togo, Mali, and others, pay more for electricity than Nigerians do.
Adelabu, during his visit to the corporate headquarters of Ikeja Electric in Lagos State on Thursday, added that Nigerians would be ready to pay more if they got enough power supply for their money.
The minister also mentioned that the challenges facing the electricity sector are not unconquerable if all stakeholders play their roles effectively.
He expressed concern that several of the 11 power distribution companies were not prepared to invest in power infrastructure and stated that the government would address this through legislation that would mandate capitalization as a requirement for all Discos.
His words: “A lot of our distributors are satisfied with the status quo. There are some high-impact investments you can make in infrastructure that will double your fortune. It translates to increased revenue for you. Some discos are not ready to put in any money; they are just satisfied with getting their monthly stipend.

“We will not allow that. That is why we are saying that if by persuasion, we cannot achieve it, we will achieve it through legislation. We are looking at capitalization requirements for Discos, which will compel them to pay more funds.

“Power business is highly capital intensive. It requires a lot of investments and infrastructure, and the investment can never be lost. It will also transform into sales and revenue for Discos. So we believe that our Discos must be ready to invest in high-impact infrastructure.”

The Minister also mentioned that Nigerians are expressing concerns about the current low power supply caused by gas constraints, especially as there is a high demand due to increased heat and the unaffordability of fuel following subsidy removal.

He said, “It’s not like we have not experienced this kind of thing before, but the heat is too much now, while petrol and diesel for generators are no longer affordable. People who have been spending N2,000 on fuel now need N10,000. They cannot afford it, so the noise is great.

“I believe a lot of people will be ready to pay for electricity, whether at the current tariff or an increased tariff, because ultimately we are going to migrate to the full cost-reflective tariff. Over the next three years, we should migrate. The government cannot continue to subsidise the cost of electricity.

“Guinea, Togo, Mali, Ivory Coast, and all the neighbouring countries that we have that are supposed to be poorer than Nigeria pay more than double what we pay here. I believe that our people will be ready, once they are sure of reliable and consistent supply.”
In welcoming the minister to Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of Ikeja Electric, Folake Soetan, remarked that the challenges facing the country’s power sector are not insurmountable.
Highlighting the transformation the company has gone through, Soetan stated it has raised its customer base from 700,000 in 2015 to over 1 million in 2023. Also, the Disco has metered 800,000 of its customers while procuring new transformers.
However, she emphasised that there are challenges of energy theft and asset vandalism, and she called on the Minister for support in addressing these issues.

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