Total shortfall in the Nigerian power sector has reached N1.6trn in eight years, findings have shown.
The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, revealed this to during a chat on Monday.
According to him, the shortfall was recorded in the fourth quarter of last year.
“As at the last quarter of 2021, the total shortfall in the power sector is about N1.6 trillion,” he said.
A shortfall arises whenever electricity distribution companies and generation companies, otherwise called DisCos and GenCos, are not able to recoup an investment made from projects. For instance, the tariff shortfall occurs when DisCos are unable to collect total tariff revenue from electricity provided to consumers. Shortfalls result in debts, which inhibit further investments and development in the sector.
Nigeria’s power sector has been faced with tough liquidity concerns since the distribution and generation arms of the industry were privatised in November 2013.
As a result, the Federal Executive Council approved the Power Sector Recovery Programme in March 2017 and made further amendments in 2019 with strategies to phase-out Federal Government support to the electricity market.
Outlining the key drivers of the PSRP, the government said revenue deficits in the sector were inevitable, thus creating unsustainable fiscal burden, necessitating various interventions in the form of loans to the sector by both the World Bank (WB) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The CBN is currently on a tour of the DisCos to provide loans for the utility firms to meet their respective metering plans as one of the ways to tackle the shortfall.
The last CBN loan to the DisCos was on tariffs shortfalls, which, as of late 2021, had dropped from N1.891trn to N247bn due to the Federal Government’s intervention.
It was learnt that the government began talks with the DisCos on metering intervention in 2020, leading to introduction of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
The Federal Government’s NMMP was set up to augment that of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission ’s Metering Assets Providers (MAP), which as of the time of the intervention had barely reached 300, 000 households.
The CBN has, so far, disbursed the sum of N47.66bn for the acquisition of 858,026 meters for the first phase of the NMMP.