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Nigerian electricity firms seek FG guarantee of bank loan, FOREX

By Garba Ahmed, Kaduna on 31/01/2017

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Power Minister Babatunde Fashola.
Power Minister Babatunde Fashola.

As many parts of the nation continue to experience drop in electricity supply, electricity distribution companies have appealed to the Federal Government to guarantee bank loans and ease difficulty in acquiring foreign exchange for its operations.

They said their inability to obtain foreign exchange to import equipment and a revenue shortfall are some of the factors hampering their operations.

Abdulazeez Abdullahi, Head Corporate Affairs of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, in an interview with journalists on Monday in Kaduna, said the low electricity generation is occasioned by gas supply shortages as a result of pipeline vandalism meant that power distribution by them would be low.

His words: “There is no FOREX. Part of the delay in the take off of the meter manufacturing factory is indeed this issue of lack of access to FOREX as the most difficult aspect also is getting loans from banks.

“Securing loan from banks is not easy considering that, any bank that looks at our books are reluctant to give us the loans.

“If the Federal Government, as promised, steps in and addresses the liquidity issue in the electricity sector, it will mean that our banks will have assurance that it can give loans and be paid for, at the stipulated time.”

Abdullahi said there is room for much more improvement in the revenue collection because supply itself is very low and the return is also very low.

Mr. Abdullahi lamented that in January 2017 alone the Kaduna DISCO in charge of Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states had three systems collapse.

“Monthly invoice is between N3 billion to N3.5 billion. But roughly we make like N1.5 or there about. So, there is a significant gap,” he said.

He said the Kaduna DISCO has engaged a company called Revolt, an indigenous company that will be an aggregator that will improve the cash offices, revenue collection through modern technology.

“We are going to engage agents, we are going to engage e- channels using POS, Internet’s, quick teller, ATM to make it easier for the people to pay so we don’t have to be chasing them. All these is to ensure that the energy we give out, we are able to recover it,” he said.

He said about 24 staff were dismissed for fraudulent activities and 15 are currently under investigation.

He said only 147 Megawatts of electricity was allocated for the four states under the DISCO as at Friday from the National Grid, “which is not enough for Kaduna town alone.

“Kaduna takes more than any of the other states with 45 Mega Watts out of 147 Mega Watts as at Friday, while the rest of the three states of the zone shared the balance.

“The reason why places like Birnin Kebbi get high is because of our relationship with Republic of Niger.

“We give power to Republic of Niger from the transmission Company in Birnin Kebbi. so, because of that, Birnin Kebbi benefits from that.

“Whatever it is we produce, we have to serve the contractual agreement we have with Niger Republic.”

 

Source News Express

Posted 31/01/2017 09:13:38 AM

 

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