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FG Disagrees with World Bank Over State of Power Sector

The federal government of Nigeria has disagreed with the report by the World Bank on the current state of its power sector.

The World Bank’s report indicated that over 78 percent of electricity consumers in Nigeria received less than 12 hours of electricity supply daily.

A statement released through the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari, while disputing the survey, said it was unclear what empirical evidence the bank deployed to arrive at the figures.

The Bank had in an online meeting with energy correspondents in Abuja last week, stating that a total of 74 percent of power users in Nigeria were dissatisfied with the supply of electricity across the country.

It further disclosed that while 93 percent of metered power users paid their bills regularly, 78 percent of electricity consumers in Nigeria received less than 12 hours of supply daily, stressing that the findings were done after a thorough survey conducted by the global financial institution.

The federal government though has insisted that power distribution to consumers had been steadily improving, even though it had stated last week that 17 of the 25 generation power plants were down, leading to a deterioration in nationwide supply.

While responding to the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), a fact sheet released by the Bank, the Nigernian government noted that it was inaccurate to make a blanket statement on the country’s power sector.

It argued that empirical evidence from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) showed that only 55 percent of citizens connected to the grid is in tariff bands D and E which is less than 12 hours supply.

The statement said: “It is inaccurate to make a blanket statement that 78 perce.nt of Nigerians have less than 12 hours daily access. The data from NERC is that 55 percent of citizens connected to the grid are in tariff bands D and E which are less than 12 hours supply.

“Those citizens are being fully subsidised to pre-September 2020 tariffs until Discos are able to improve supply. There is a $3billion CAPEX fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria for Discos to improve infrastructure for these tariff classes similar to the metering programme that is ongoing.”

The government also kicked against aspects of the World Bank’s report which claimed that 58 percent of electricity consumers in the country did not have meters to measure electricity use, dismissing the data as unverifiable.
“It is unclear who did this survey and what the timeframe is. All citizens that have got free meters report they are happy about the reform trajectory,” Zakari added.

According to the statement, to date, more than 600,000 meters have been delivered to Distribution Companies (Discos) out of the 1 million in phase 0 with installation ongoing and meters being sourced locally, while creating jobs in installation and manufacturing/assembly.

The federal government clarified that the Service-Based Tariff (SBT) ensures that citizens pay more only when and if they are receiving a high quality of service.

Zakari stated that all consumers have been communicated their bands which he said are published during billing.
The statement maintained that it was inconceivable that anyone would imply that four out of five Nigerians are not intelligent enough to understand tariff classes and what they are paying for.

The presidential adviser on infrastructure, in the statement, said his office enjoyed a robust working relationship with the World Bank and was, therefore, surprised that such a report would be released without the input of other critical stakeholders.

The statement noted: “We have a good working relationship with the bank but metrics around the Nigerian power sector will come from the ministry of power, NERC while the CBN also regularly publishes intervention data.”

The secretary to the presidential power reform coordination working group noted that the government has also been supporting data access from the relevant agencies, insisting that it was uncommon to publish such data without the right consultation, fact-checking and context.

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