FG doesn’t have money to pay electricity subsidy again – Power Minister

Adebayo Adelabu

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has lamented that the Federal Government can no longer pay electricity subsidy as the country’s power debt continues to balloon.

Adelabu also advocated that the nation must begin a shift towards a cost-effective tariff model, as he revealed that Nigeria is currently indebted to the tune of ₦1.3 trillion to generating companies (GenCos) while debt to gas companies stands at $1.3 billion.

The Minister disclosed these at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, which also had in attendance stakeholders, including heads of all the agencies under the Federal Ministry of Power.

He stated that only ₦450bn was earmarked for electricity subsidy in the 2024 budget, even though findings by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) showed that ₦2.9tn is required for subsidy this year.

While highlighting the complex nature of the crisis in the power sector, Adelabu noted that the national grid has collapsed six times between December 2023 and now.

He attributed the trend to a shortage of gas, ageing machines in the grid value chain, low capacity to evacuate generated power, and destruction of power stations in some parts of the North-East geopolitical zone of the country.

The Minister said the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has over 100 abandoned projects due to variations in contract figures caused by forex fluctuations.

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Consequently, he said the company won’t award new contracts until all abandoned projects are completed.

He warned electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to sit up, adding that anyone found wanting would have its licence withdrawn.

Adelabu also stated that over ₦500bn has been earmarked in the 2024 budget to build mini-grids for power supply to remote areas.

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