THE federal government spends over 50 billion naira monthly subsidising electricity, Saleh Mamman, minister of power, has said. He said the rationale behind the subsidy was to ensure that energy was not taken away from the reach of the common man.
Receiving members of the Hausa Guild of Actors and Film Producers, otherwise known as Kannywood, on Tuesday, the minister said the funds were provided to augment the shortfall by the distribution companies (DisCos) who had failed to pay for the electricity supply wheeled to them.
In a statement, Aaron Artimas, special adviser on media and communications to Mamman, said the minister expressed serious concern over the failure of the DisCos to stabilise their operations and meet their financial obligations to other players in the sector.
He said following a minor increase in the tariff regime, the subsidy had now decreased by half, but still constituted a serious drain on the nation’s economy.
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“Nigerians must understand that these companies were privatised long before the advent of this administration, but the government has no alternative than to continue managing the sector before a final solution is secured,” the minister said.
“Through the Presidential Power Initiative and other intervention measures, the government is diligently working to massively resolve all these inherited problems that have continuously frustrated the success of the sector.”
The minister noted that most of the DisCos were sold off and managed as family businesses, making it difficult to professionally manage them.
He added that Nigerians now enjoyed a stable power supply.
Mamman called on the DisCos to expedite action on free distribution of meters to their consumers as a way of lessening their problems.