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Despite Payment Default, Military To Spend N5.8bn On Electricity Bills

The three branches of armed forces have proposed to spend N5,817,782,952 in 2024 to pay electricity charges.

The amount is despite the military fingered among the government agencies that occasionally owed the Distribution Companies debt which they said affected their utmost efficiency.

Analysis of the 2023 budget showed that the Nigerian Airforce budgeted the highest amount of N2,993,758,694 million followed by the Nigerian Army with N2,224,024,258 billion and the Nigerian Airforce N600,000,000 billion.

Daily Trust reports that the erstwhile Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, said Electricity Distribution Companies had listed military formations, educational institutions and state governments among the defaulters of power bills.

Speaking during a public hearing at the ninth Assembly in May, the Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, Sule Abdulaziz, said the high rate of defaults on electricity bills by critical government agencies led to the disconnection of Electricity Distribution Companies in Kaduna and Kano from the national grid recently.

Offering solutions, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Gabriel Suswam, and other members like Senators Adamu Aliero, and Yusuf Yusuf, suggested deduction from source of electricity bills of such agencies by the Ministry of Finance.

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According to Suswam, one of the complaints made by the Discos, particularly those of Kaduna and Kano, is enormous debt incurred by them from electricity bill defaulters.

“The Discos as stated in the written complaint specifically mentioned military formations across the country,  educational institutions,  state governments etc to be greatest culprits “ he said.

Recall that in Discos under the aegis of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) had in January 2022 accused government agencies of incurring N90bn in electricity debt since 2013.

ANED’s Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Sunday Oduntan, noted that the indebtedness of MDAs had lingered and that the unpaid bills had been increasing since November 2013.

He said, “All MDAs’ debt is in excess of N90bn and the military is part of that. We came onboard in 2013 and since then, how much has been paid by the MDAs?

“There was a time when a former minister of power said they (government) had concluded an arrangement on how to settle the debt, but as I speak with you, the bills are still unpaid. Since privatisation, there have been issues around MDAs debt.”

But to pay the debt, The Federal Government budgeted N40bn to settle the electricity bill debts of ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) in 2024.

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The item listed as ‘Settlement of MDAs’ electricity debts’, was in the sectoral allocation details released by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Solomon Adeola, before the budget document was released in December.

The amount is the same as what was budgeted for 2023 but higher than what was budgeted in 2022 (N27 billion).

Source: Dailytrus

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