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Nigeria puts in place resolution to ensure payment for electricity by government entities

14 May 2012 – Leadership Newspapers online reports that a recent resolution by the Lower House directing the Federal Ministry of Finance has been made to deduct from quarterly budgets electricity debts owed the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) by government ministries, departments and agencies, the military, police and para-military organisations. However, this move is facing stiff resistance from the affected government outfits.
The lower house committee on power has revealed the listed federal government outfits were the highest debtors to the state-run electricity company. According to the power committee chairman, Patrick Ikhariale, who undertook an on the spot assessment of eight of Nigeria’s eleven electricity distribution companies, government debtors to PHCN are largely responsible for over US$280 million in unpaid electricity bills to the distribution companies visited.
In scope, the resolution aims to undertake three things. All government ministries, departments and agencies, including the armed forces, police and paramilitaries that owe arrears for electricity supplied should be made to pay within 30 days. Secondly, if they fail to pay, they should be disconnected forthwith after the expiration of the grace period. Thirdly, if they do not pay as directed by the resolution of the House, the minister of finance should instruct the relevant office which has the responsibility of disbursing their monthly allocations to deduct bills owed from source. In addition, the House committees on Power and Public Accounts will investigate in clinical terms what happened to the funds that have always been appropriated on yearly basis to these entities for the purposes of paying their utility bills.