The Federal Government has generated $64.6 million revenue from sale of electricity to neighbouring Benin and Niger republics, Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said. Fashola gave the figure in an address presented at the 21st meeting of the Power Sector Stakeholders Conference in Asaba.
The minister said that the government had made efforts to recover the huge debt owed by its international customers to reduce liquidity challenges in the power sector. ““Only recently, the federal government received the sum of $64.630.65 million from the republics of Benin and Niger for electricity power supplied to these two nations. ““It is our belief that our effort at recovering some of these debts owed by our international customers will help towards the reducing liquidity challenges we face in the power sector,” Fashola said. Fashola said the monthly stakeholders’ conference was an avenue to assess and evaluate the progress of collective efforts at boosting power supply in the country.
He listed some of the major challenges facing the sector to include estimated billing and inadequate prepaid meters for customers. The minister also used the occasion to inaugurate the New Asaba Injection Substation, a 215 MVA substation expected to boost power supply to parts of Delta. Fashola said: “”With today’s commissioning of the New Asaba 215 MVA interjection substation, there will now be more electricity for the people of Bonsac, Akwuebulu, Oduke and all other surrounding areas.”
The stressed that the federal government was working assiduously towards connecting rural areas to the national grid and appealed to people in rural areas to be patient. “”To those communities that electricity power has not reached across the country, I implore you to be patient, because we have certainly not forgotten you. “”I want to assure you that one by one, we will get to you so that every community in Nigeria can enjoy electricity supply,” he said. Earlier in an address, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, the Managing Director, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), lauded the initiators of the monthly stakeholders conference.
She said that the meeting allowed stakeholders to critically analyse their challenges and efforts towards achieving a common goal for the development of the sector. “This forum affords all of us an avenue to interact, understand each other and evaluate our common efforts and challenges towards achieving the goal of equitable power distribution to our people. “Here at the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, we have started making progress in the area of load management and we have also improved our billing system,” Osibodu said.
The BEDC boss stated that the company, with franchise area covering Edo, Delta and Ondo states, had energised several communities that have been without electricity for years. She listed Ibusa and Ogwashi-Uku communities in Delta as some of the communities that BEDC has successfully energised. In his address, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, lauded BEDC for the inauguration and official switch-on of the New Asaba Interjection Substation, saying it would boost power supply in the area. Okowa, represented by the state Commissioner for Energy, Mr. Newworld Sufugha, expressed urged BEDC to focus on providing prepaid meters to its customers.