The Presidency has explained why despite the fact that power generated in Nigeria is insufficient, the country still distributes electricity to Togo, Niger and Benin.
The Presidency said the distribution of electricity to the neighbouring countries was due to Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with their governments so that they would not dam the waters that feed Nigeria’s major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu stated this in a statement on Tuesday.
Shehu was responding to a publication by a Nigerian newspaper which had decried the situation where Nigeria sells electricity to neighbouring countries on credit while blackouts still persist in the country.
In his reply Shehu said, “It is most disappointing that sensationalism has dominated the thinking and ethos of institutions that citizens look up to with trust, confidence and reliability.
“Monday edition of the Punch checks all the boxes in terms of an abject failure to honour these time-tested traditions with its news piece: “Nigeria exports USD81.48bn electricity on credit as country’s blackout persists,” is, to say the least, hyperbolic and terribly misleading.
“Apart from the fact that the figure quoted is far from accurate, out-dated and therefore not reflective of the current reality, the overall cost of power generated and sold by Nigeria in the period covered by the report is not anywhere close to what was mentioned by the paper.
“The actual cost of electricity generated within the said timeframe (2018-2019) by all the electricity generation companies in Nigeria was about N1.2 trillion ($4 billion).
“Over 90% of the electricity generated was distributed and consumed by consumers across the 11 electricity distribution companies in the country.
“Power exported to Niger, Benin and Togo based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with the Government of Nigeria is on the basis that they would not dam the waters that feed our major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.”
Speaking on what the countries are owing Nigeria for the electricity sold to them, Shehu said:
“As of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to all three customers stood at $69 million, subsequent upon which several payments were made to NBET. Much of this has been repaid by the debtor nations.
“As of today, Niger owes only USD 16 million and Benin, USD 4 million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2bn.”
He explained that the essence of the said bilateral agreements, “by which we give them power and they do not build dams on the River Niger means that Nigeria and her brotherly neighbours had avoided the unfolding situation of the Nile River between the sovereign states of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
“In the future, we advise the newspaper to seek clarity from the market operator which is the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. This process of fact-checking only improves your standing in the public arena.”