NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT TO PAY ELECTRICITY WORKERS WITH EARNINGS FROM PHCN SALE SAYS MINISTER.

Over 75 per cent of the money the Nigerian Government will use to pay off electricity workers will be gotten from the sale of the state owned electricity company, the Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, said on Wednesday.

Mr. Nebo said that the Federal Government approved N348 billion as severance package to staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

He said this at a news conference in Abuja, adding that N45 billion (13 per cent) was actually what was approved in this year’s budget for the purpose. He added that the shortfall would be made up by the Federal Government from the sale of PHCN.

Fifteen private power investors, who had paid up to 25 per cent of the amount on the sale of the companies received their certificates from the government on April 22.

The companies are Kainji, Shiroro, Geregu, Sapele and Ughelli power generation firms. Other distribution companies are in Abuja, Ikeja, Jos, Eko, Port Harcourt, Benin, Enugu, Kano, Ibadan and Yola.

The minister later told newsmen that there was a metering gap of 2.5 million in the country, adding that due to increase in population, Nigeria needed three million more prepaid meters.

He said that Nigeria needed N77 billion to close the gaps, adding that the country also required 765 MVA Supper Grid Transformers to improve the power sector to world standard.

According to him, government requires N544 billion or 3.4 billion dollars to increase power generation and part of it will be used to install smart prepaid meters.

He said that a huge amount of power was expected from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and government was also investing heavily on hydro plants and renewable energy to boost generation.

Mr. Nebo said the hydro generation plants being built to boost power generation in the country were the Zungeru (700mw) and Mambilla (3,050mw).

The minister explained that an enabling environment had been created by government in the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act of 2005, to protect both local and foreign investors.

He said government had empowered the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission as the sector regulator to ensure that “there is fair tariff for both consumers and suppliers of power’’.

Mr. Nebo urged Nigerians to be patient with government as it was making efforts to fix the power sector, adding that citizens on their part should assist the government to secure PHCN equipment.

(NAN)

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