Mr Sale Mamman, the Minister of Power, says the Federal Government spends over N50 billion monthly on electricity.
This was disclosed by Mr Aaron Artimas, the Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the minister in a statement in Abuja. Artimas quoted the minister as saying this when he received the Guild of Actors and Film Producers, otherwise known as, Kannywood in his office.
“Worried by the incessant complaints by ordinary Nigerians over the unavoidable and periodic increase in the cost of electricity, the Federal Government has been subsidizing electricity supply in the country to the tune of over N50 billion.
“The funds are provided to augment the shortfall by the Distribution Companies (DiSCos) who 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,” he said. Mamman expressed serious concern over the failure by DiSCos to stabilize their operations to meet their financial obligations to other players in the sector.
He said it was in response to this unfortunate development that the federal government had been forced to partly subsidize the sector so as not to price the cost of electricity out of the reach of the common man.
The minister also explained that as part of the measures to assist ordinary Nigerians over their frustration in receiving adequate electricity supply, the federal government was forced to categorize electricity supply into various bands between highbrow areas and low-income earners.
He said that the categorization of the supply was to enable everyone to cope with the cost of electricity. “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.
“Through the Presidential Power Initiative and other intervention measures, the government is diligently working to massively resolve all these inherited problems that have continuously frustrated the success of the sector,” he said. Mamman said that most of the DisCos were sold off and managed as family businesses which had made them difficult to be professionally managed.
The minister regretted that while some of these problems persisted, remarkable performance and progress had been achieved by the federal government, as the supply of electricity had stabilized at over 5,000 megawatts.
He said that the 5,000 megawatts were up from less than 4,000 megawatts before President Muhammadu Buhari came to power. He emphasized that Nigerians now enjoy a stable power supply from 15 to 24 hours daily.
The minister, however, blamed the shortfall or interruptions on supply to some quarters on faulty equipment and supply lines and called on consumers to report such developments to their distribution offices. He noted that it was the responsibility of the DisCos to replace faulty transformers, electricity poles, and cables whenever they occur.
The minister warned the DisCos to stop tasking ordinary Nigerians with these responsibilities before they could restore power interruptions. While commending Nigerians on their efforts to pay for electricity in spite of the present economic and social problems facing them, he advised them to minimize their usage of electricity by switching off their appliances when they were not at home.