Benin Republic, Niger pay Nigeria $10m power bill after disconnection threat

Benin Republic, Niger pay Nigeria $10m power bill after disconnection threat

- The Republics of Benin and Niger have cleared the debt they owe Nigeria after they were supplied electric power

- This came as Nigeria recently threatened to disconnect all its debtors if they fail to pay their accrued debt

- Both neighbouring countries paid a total of about sum of $10 million, with Niger paying $3.79m and Benin remitting $6.32m

In a bid to avoid being disconnected from their power source by Nigeria, the Republics of Benin and Niger have paid the sum of $10.1m as electricity bill to the federal government.

The quick move by both neighbouring nations was in response to the threat by Nigeria to disconnect its debtors.

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Punch reported that the countries made the payment through their respective power firms, with NIGELEC of the Republic of Niger paying $3.79m, while the Community Electric du Benin of the Republic of Benin remitted $6.32m to Nigeria’s electricity market.

Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari had resolved to join the league of operators in the power sector in calling on international customers receiving electricity from Nigeria to either pay their bills or be disconnected.

Nigeria supplies power to Togo, Niger and Benin, and regards the West African countries as international customers. The payment was disclosed to operators in Nigeria’s electricity industry at the August 2018, power sector stakeholders’ meeting by the Market Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria

According to some personnel of the federal ministry of power, works and housing, the international customers, pay for the power received from Nigeria in dollars, a trend that had increased the financial indebtedness to Nigeria’s power generation companies.

On its dashboard on the summary of energy delivery in the month of June 2018, the Market Operator (MO) stated that energy delivered to international customers and Ajaokuta Steel was 229,487.29 megawatts/hour.

Under bilateral trading, it stated that the quantum of energy sent out by power generation companies was 104,861.92MWh, while energy delivered to bilateral customers was 95,939.31MWh.

Figures on the dashboard showed that indigenous power distribution companies, as always, got the highest quantum of energy, 2,355,623.4MWh, from the Generating companies (Gencos) in the month under review.

The MO further stated that part of the foreign exchange inflows from international customers had been disbursed to service providers in Nigeria’s power sector.

The indebt of international customers was also confirmed by Babatunde Fashola, the minister of power, works and housing, in July 2018, who revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari was doing his utmost to ensure that the electricity debts by Nigeria's debtors were paid.

The minister had also directed the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company to go ahead and collect its money from the international customers.

He stated: “We issued disconnection notices and that is why I’m asking the NBET to go and collect your money because we have duties, obligations and international agreements with them as brother and sister nations.

“But that does not mean they will not pay us if they are defaulting. So, we have issued letters to them to pay their bills, and from time to time, they pay.

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“There was a time one head of state came to visit President Buhari and little did I know that the real reason he came was to come and tell him that the (power) sector had issued a notice of disconnection to his country. And you may be interested to know that President Buhari simply told him to go and pay, otherwise we will disconnect you because we are also paying at home.”

Meanwhile, reported that hundreds of women from Alaba-Oro, Mosafejo and Amukoko area of Lagos on Thursday, April 5, stormed the Marina headquarters of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) protesting over six-year epileptic power supply. gathered that the all-women protesters prevented workers and visitors from entering EKEDC premises and caused traffic gridlock on the ever-busy Lagos Marina.

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