By Oduyemi Odumade
The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee has summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria and 11 Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, over $321 million and N18.2 billion loans for the accelerated transmission distribution interface, lines and substation projects.
They are to appear before the Committee on November 8.
Chairman of the PAC, Bamidele Salam,who handed down the summons when the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Mr. Sule Abdulaziz appeared before the Committee in Abuja said a
petition was received on the lack of judicious use of the funds, which were paid to the DISCOs by the CBN on prompting of the TCN.
Abdulaziz told the Committee that the funds were paid directly to the DISCOs by the CBN to embark on the various projects and repayment of the loans was from the revenue of the TCN.
Chairman of the Committee, Bamidele Salam, demanded that the TCN should provide details of disbursement of the loans, procurement process, how many DISCOs were involved, the stage of the projects, and the structure of the repayment of the loans to the beneficiaries of the loan.
“Sometime in 2021 the then President Muhammadu Buhari granted that certain funds be made available for the purpose of enhancing the capacity of our transmission and distribution lines to be able to have a more robust power sector intervention and these funds were made available for certain projects to the distribution companies.
“It is the concern of the petitioner that the fund has not been judiciously used and that the project ought to have been delivered by now upon which we caused a letter to be written to the Transmission Company of Nigeria which also sent in a response stating the status report of the project as well as the procedure for the implementation of that loan disbursement and execution of the project by the distribution companies.
“Our concern is to ensure that all our institutions work well in accordance with the law and in accordance with global best practices and to ensure money is judiciously utilized.”
Abdulaziz explained that there was a gap in the electricity sector and the distribution companies were complaining that the TCN was not giving them supply.
He said there was a need to invest in some projects so that the distribution companies would be able to distribute light to Nigerians.
Also speaking the TCN Market Operator, Mr. Edmond Eje, said Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission oversaw engagement between TCN and 11 DISCOs to align on a list of critical interface projects that would significantly increase TCN’s capacity to unlock DISCOs energy demand in critical load centres.
He said a total of 125 projects were identified and agreed upon in the tripartite engagement.
Edited By Grace Namiji
Written by: Bukky Alabi