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Army, Navy and the Air Force owe N9.4bn electricity bills

By News Express on 14/02/2016

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Three key armed forces, the Nigeria Army, Navy and the Air Force are indebted to the electricity distribution companies to the tune of N9.4 billion.

The debt accumulated in the last couple of years arose in spite of budgetary provisions in previous 2015 and subsequent supplementary budgetary allocations to deflect them, especially following high powered entreaties to that effect.

Nigerian Pilot Sunday scooped that the discos had repeatedly appealed to the military authorities to endeavour to offset the debt to no avail, forcing them to write letters and then follow up with high level visitations to discuss and negotiate downward the debt.

Nigerian Pilot Sunday recalls that in 2014, following the choking debts put at about N49,305,181,196.66 owed the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in the country by both the federal, state governments and other agencies, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), had written to the federal government demanding payment of the debts.

Then it was revealed that the combined figures of N27,635,968,440.69 was accumulated since the handover to private sector firms in November 2013, while the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company alone was owed N7 billion. The amount has since increased, according to our findings.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan had acted on NERC letter by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to authorise the then Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct at source their debts from defaulting MDAs.

However, we gathered that some two years later, the directive to deduct from source was yet to be implemented.

Last Wednesday, the Defence Minister, Monsur Dan-Ali, a retired Brigadier-General, confirmed that the services were heavily indebted to the distribution companies and would want to offset debt.

He informed the House of Representatives Committee on Defence that the N9.4 billion has been accumulated over the years due to the failure of the forces to pay their electricity bills.

To address the situation, the minister, who was defending the ministry’s 2016 budget, said out of the N16 billion proposed as capital vote for 2016, the arm is to spend the sum of N11.8 billion on “judgement debts.”

Meaning the amount left to even clear the electricity bills was grossly inadequate and many feared the situation will linger or even worsen.

The budget states that the balance will be used to fund 31 projects for the military this year. (Nigerian Pilot)

•Photo shows Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin.

Source News Express

Posted 14/02/2016 1:49:29 PM

 

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