Minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola has raised serious objections at the Association of Electricity Distributing Companies regarding the debt owed Discos by government Ministries,Departments and Agencies, MDAs.
He said although the constitution allows freedom of association, however, the privatisation, that resulted in the transfer of the power distribution assets, was not held between the federal government and any association.
“Let me say without any equivocation that government will not succumb to the blackmail, at least not the federal government of Nigeria,” the minister said.
In September Fashola had assured that government intends on paying off the electricity debts to the electricity distribution companies (Discos) owed by its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
In progress to this, it is reported that the minister said government had provided an online platform where it requested all the Discos to submit details of their debts to that platform for government to verify it.
“I think that advert should have told Nigerians how many Discos have complied with that instruction. That advert should also have told Nigerians how much was owed and to which Disco,” he said.
Fashola continued: “So while I respect the rights of association, indeed our constitution allows freedom of association.
“But the Nigeria government will not pay its debts estimated to be about N100 billion ($317 million) under the aegis of an association.”
The minister highlighted that this is not how to resolve debts and that every Disco knows how much power it has supplied to the MDAs.
“Debts are not calculated by estimates. It is either N100 billion or less than N100 billion but not an estimate,” he said.
In June, the minister disclosed that the Debt Management Office had come up with a financial scheme that will be used to assist the MDAs to pay their electricity bills.
At the time the minister only indicated that the financial plan could be in place before the end of this year.