The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has declared that the accumulated bill of the power supplied by Nigeria to its West African neighbours – Benin, Togo and Niger – between January and September last year currently stands at N29.97 billion.
Niger, through its electricity company, Societe Nigerienne d’electricite, owes Nigeria an arrears of N3.01 billion, N3.69 billion and N4.1 billion for the first, second and third quarters of 2019 respectively.
Meanwhile, the firm Communaute Electrique du Benin, jointly owned by Benin and Togo, is yet to settle its bills of N9.74 billion for Q1 2019; N7.16 billon for Q2 2019 and N2.27 billion for Q3 2019.
The NERC latest quarterly report, which was made public last weekend, demonstrates that all the three nations made no payment in Q3 2019.
According to the document, “the Nigerian government has continued to engage the governments of neighbouring countries benefitting from the export supply to ensure timely payments for the electricity purchased from Nigeria.”
It admits that the Nigerian power sector is severely constrained by dearth of funding and poor financial performance.
For instance, out of the invoice of the total sum of N179.66 billion the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) handed to power distribution companies ( Discos) for energy supply and service charge, just N58.81 billion has been paid so far.
In line with the framework of the country’s power industry, NBET – owned by the Federal Government – buys electricity from power generating firms via Power Purchase Agreements and sells same to Discos by means of vesting contracts.
The report says “although the Discos met the minimum remittance for MO, the average aggregate remittance performance to NBET was 32.73 per cent, with performance level ranging from 19.43 per cent (Jos) to 50.03 per cent (Eko).
“This is slightly lower than the minimum remittance threshold prescribed in the other on minimum remittance issued to all Discos in July 2019 with Enugu and Ikeja failing to meet their remittance obligation during the period.”