FG Recovered N12.7bn Metering Funds From Supplier

Date:

By Charles Ebi

Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has revealed how the  Ministry of Power recovered the sum of N12.7 billion from a local supplier 21 years after payment by the federal government. 

Adelabu made this disclosure in a statement on Friday at a conference in Lagos. 

He said the government paid N32 billion ($200 million) to a local supplier for three million meters in 2003, yet not a single meter has been provided up to now.

He added that despite efforts by subsequent administrations to recover the fund, they were unsuccessful. 

However, upon assuming office, he said his ministry has successfully recouped N12.7 billion of the N32 billion disbursed.

According to the Minister, as of the time the fund was disbursed, Nigeria only had a 4 million metering gap, and the fund would have provided meters for about 3 million households. 

“In 2003, the federal government was to procure 3 million meters. Our metering gap then was less than 4 million. And there was a $200 million made available to procure this. It was given to a Nigerian meter company. It was N32 billion as of that time. 

“After 21 years, not a single meter has been procured. We are our own problem. When I came into the office, I said this is not possible. All past administrations have tried to retrieve this fund, but they did not succeed because the supplier was powerful. 

“When I got to the office, I told Mr. President that we have to insist that this woman returns the money. The first thing I did was to ensure that she returned N12.57 billion to those who were supposed to meter all military formations. 

The remaining balance is yet to be released by the company. And we are talking about meter gap” Adelabu said.

Speaking further, Adelabu said that the mandate given to him by Mr. President is to procure 10 million meters within the next five years to bridge the metering gap in the country. 

According to him, President Tinubu has approved the Presidential Metering Initiative ,PIM, and has created a Presidential Metering Council with the mandate to procure two million meters this year alone.

Adelabu said this initiative will eliminate the metering gap in the country in the near future. 

“Mr. President has approved the presidential metering initiative and has created the presidential metering council for which I am the chairman. Our mandate is to procure 10 million meters within the next five years. 

“This year, two million meters are going to be procured, plus 1.5 million meters from the World Bank. We are going to have 3.5 million meters this year”, the Minister added. 

Currently, Nigeria faces a disparity of approximately 7 million unmetered customers out of the 13 million eligible ones, forcing power distribution companies to resort to estimated billing. 

Despite various initiatives set up by the federal government to bridge the metering gap, the power sector continues to struggle due to factors such as inadequate investment, energy theft, and bureaucratic challenges.

For instance, the World Bank approved the sum of $500 million metering program of which $155 will be channelled towards providing meters for consumers while $345 million will be extended to DisCos to improve electricity supply.

However, there is controversy surrounding the program with the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria ,MAN, alleging the exclusion of local meter manufacturers in favour of foreign importers.

Without proper metering of customers, it becomes difficult to achieve a cost-reflective tariff without resorting to estimated billing, which many customers consider a rip-off on their parts. 

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