Industry experts have predicted tougher times for the nation’s electricity distribution companies (Discos), contending that the problem was not just about huge financial shortfall, but the dim prospect of debt recovery and the unlikelihood of attracting the needed funds, either locally or offshore.
In his interaction with the media, the Executive Director, Research & Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, put a figure of N1.3 billion on the shortfall confronting the power sector.
Electricity consumers, particularly the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), currently owe Discos hundreds of billions, which continue to grow without any hope of redemption.
According to an industry source, the Federal Government indicated willingness to pay Discos last year. While it might have paid about N26 billion to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET), the Discos’ creditors, no payment has been made to Discos.
Experts also express worry over the not so cordial relationship between the regulatory authorities and Discos, saying it is a major disincentive for investors and fund managers.
Recently, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) announced the suspension of the Ibadan Disco board over some alleged indebtedness. The board has since got a court order quashing the suspension.
In a similar vein, the House of Representatives has called on the NERC to reverse the suspension of both the executive and non-executive directors of Ibadan Disco.
The resolution followed a motion under matters of urgent public importance by Sunday Adepoju (Oyo, APC) on Tuesday at the plenary in Abuja, noting the critical role the power sector played in Nigeria’s economy.