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Stakeholders Commend CBN For Power Sector Interventions

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Industry watchers say the current management of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) deserves accolades for presiding over various intervention programmes that have led to the somewhat rebalancing of the Nigerian economy.

Some economic and energy experts who spoke to our correspondent said the Godwin Emefiele-led Central Bank should be particularly praised for their intervention in the power industry, which they say has given the hitherto comatose sector a facelift.

They however said the authorities would have to ensure close monitoring of the application of the CBN facility to ensure a productive output for economic recovery.

Nigeria has an estimated metering gap of five million, electricity customers have repeatedly raised concerns of arbitrary billing by distribution companies.

Economic analyst, Stephen Kanabe said the intervention by the Central Bank in the distribution segment of the nation’s power sector would contribute to significantly reduce the lingering challenges of poor infrastructure and arbitrary billing of end-users.

As at February this year, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele disclosed that under the Nigeria Electricity Stabilization Facility, a total of N229 billion has been disbursed to 9 DisCos to help cover their financial obligations to upstream market participants.

It is believed that the interventions have helped to significantly improve liquidity in their ecosystem and increase electricity generation from 4,000 MW in 2020 to over 5,000 MW as of September 2021.

The Central Bank has also released N47.83 billion to 10 DisCos under the National Mass Metering Programme for the procurement of 858,026 electricity meters. Because of these disbursements, the revenue collection for DisCos increased significantly to over N69 billion as of December 2021.

Associate director, energy, utilities and resources at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Habeeb Jaiyeola, said “government’s continued support to Discos will have an overall impact on the sector to facilitate the required progress, adding that the federal government also has equity ownership in the DisCos needs to see to their successes.

“Previous intervention funds have been utilized to settle collection challenges. The plan to use this intervention for infrastructure development is a step in the right direction,” Jaiyeola stated.

He urged the authorities to clearly outlined and monitored the intervention to ensure it achieved projected objectives, adding that the National Mass Metering Programme may need to be checked against some of its set objectives in terms of coverage, availability, and completion time.

“An assessment of the impact of intervention funding in the power sector also needs to be looked into. While government intervention continues to be an important sector catalyst, monitoring impact will ensure government scarce resources are appropriately channeled for the benefit of Nigerians,” he said.

The distribution companies have been unable to dispatch generated electricity due to weak infrastructure. Reports say Nigeria has about 8, 310, 408 registered active electricity customers. Since the power sector was privatized, only 3, 704, 302 (44.6 per cent) of electricity customers have been metered, leaving out 55.4 per cent.

Stating that much investment in needed in the power, the experts say the intervention by the CBN remains the right step because, given the current installed capacity for the generation companies in Nigeria, the inability of the Discos to completely distribute and collect payment would continue to hinder the ability of the country to fully leverage the installed capacity.

There is a general believe that the funding programme by CBN would end estimated billing of consumer, which he said is critical to development of the country.

 

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