The Federal Government has concluded plans to inject additional N600 billion into the Nigerian electricity industry.
The Market Operator (MO), Transmission Company of Nigeria, Edmond Eje, who disclosed this yesterday at the third MO interactive stakeholders’ forum in Abuja said the President Muhammad Buhari has already authorised the release of the fund.
The current development, despite the poor performance of the sector, brings government’s direct intervention in the sector to about N1.5 trillion in recent times.
Eje said the release of the fund is “now at advance level. It has been signed by Mr. President. It is for the shortfall in the payment of monthly invoices. The government is not happy that it has taken effect. But when government signs such fund there is underlying protocol that must be observed in other to facilitate it.”He expressed worry over the performance of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, insisting that government would not hesitate to sanction or sell off any entity that remains elusive.
Considering that the government in 2015 intervened with the sum of N213 billion and staked N701 billion in 2017, bringing the fund to N1.5 trillion.
Eje noted that the continuous intervention outweighs expenditures in the days, when the total control of the sector was in the hands of the government.
Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Usman Mohammed, who also spoke at the programme, said the government was considering slitting the company into two entities.
He said about $5 million is also being considered to digitise substations across the country, adding that would continue to enforce Market Rule to instill discipline in the power sector.
“Our intention is to midwife TCN in such a way that TCN will cease to exist. There will be a separate Transmission Service Provider (TSP) and the Independent System Operation (ISO) will be with the MO. I am doing everything possible for that,” the MD said.
He noted that the slit may not, however, happen immediately, adding that there was need to address the lingering challenges affecting the national grid, especially the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and the Electricity Management System (EMS).
Mohammed said: “Fixing SCADA will take about two years. So, we have segmented it to start with the Automated Meter Reading (AMR), where all energy will be accurately metered and every market participant will have access to that.”
He disclosed that TCN would train about 15 on the software, hardware and the communication aspects of the SCADA, adding, “We are going to train them anywhere in the world, even if it will cost us N$3 million, we will do it.”