The Federal Government of Nigeria Friday raised concerns over continuous electricity supply to the Republic of Benin and Togo in the face of outstanding bills while Nigerians need the same power.
Speaking during the opening meeting of the route and environmental and social impact assessment study on the Nigeria-Benin 330 KV reinforcement project, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Power) Dr. Louis Edozien, urged the company in charge of the bilateral power deal: Communaute Electricique du Benin (CEB) and Togo to pay up the mounting debts.
He told the West African Power Pool (WAPP) delegates that “currently Nigerians are not satisfied. I will explain why it makes sense to do this even in the context of the current dissatisfaction but it is very difficult to make that argument very persuasively when the electricity we have already supplied is not paid for.
“So, I want to use this platform to emphasis to CEB that the debt that has accumulated for electricity already supplied needs to be settled as quickly as possible. It helps us explain to Nigerians why we should and must sign the supply by doing projects like this one.
“Now, not only must the debt be paid but a mechanism must also be put in place to make sure the debt doesn’t ballon again and those are paid for as and when due.”
According to him, the essence of the commitment to supply power to the West Africa CEB and Niger Link arose out of a government/government multi-lateral understanding about optimizing the use of the River Niger as a resource.
Edozien however informed the delegates that the Nigerian electricity industry has moved from a vertically integrated government monopoly to an industry with private investors hence the need for a power purchase agreement.
“Now as your needs grow and as projects like this one are completed, you sign the amount of energy you are buying from Nigeria. Our expectation is that you will look to individual generation operators two of whom are here to contract the supply you need. The regulator is here and he is putting in place regulatory framework so that that is possible so that you should contract directly with the people who want to supply you and I believe you have one such contracts already.”
Speaking, the Interim Managing Director and WAPP chairman, Mr, Usman Gur Mohammed, explained that the project which is the second Ikeja West (Nigeria) to Sakete (Benin Republic) transmission line will be due for commissioning in 2021.
The project, he said, is expected to take 24 months after six months of feasibility studies and the procurement process.
The TCN boss noted that African Development Bank is committed to financing the project, adding that it was the ones that funded the line from Ikeja West to Sekete and would still use the same funding corridor.
The ECOWAS representative said that the 330KV Nigeria/Togo Interconnection Reinforcement Project shall aim to augment the power exhange capacity of its predecessor that was actually the very one commissioned by WAPP in 2006.
He added that the project shall stabilize the WAPP coastal transmission backbone spanning from Nigeria, Cote d’ Ivoire through Benin, Togo and Ghana, and to increase the power potential of ECOWAS countries like Niger, Burkina and Mali.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Vice Chairman, Sanusi Garba noted that government will not under the arrangement compromise power supply to Nigeria.