Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
The Federal Government is set to commence the distribution of the four million free electricity prepaid metres promised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), soon.
The Minister of Power, Mamman Saleh, made the disclosure while fielding questions from State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in keeping with its promise to augment government’s distribution of free prepaid metres with additional four million pieces, in March had disbursed N123.34 billion to Distribution Companies (DisCos) to boost electricity supply in the country.
The apex bank had distributed N33.45 billion to nine DisCos for the procurement of 605,852 meters, while N89.89 billion was disbursed under the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF 2) to 11 DisCos to improve the electricity supply in the country.
According to the Minister, government was almost getting through with the distribution of its initial one million meters to Nigerians, which he tagged the phase zero, and would soon commence the distribution of the four million, which he tagged phase one.
On meter distribution Selah said: “It’s ongoing, we are almost rounding off. We’re have almost finished with phase zero, we are now going into phase one of the distribution of the metres, that is the remaining four million the Central Bank promised augment with.
“The first set is one million, we’re about to finish with that, but you know, it’s not the target, one million is very negligible compared to the demand of Nigerians”, he said.
Saleh also said there had been an improvement in power generation, explaining that the country is now generate as much as 5,000 megawatts from the initial 3,000 megawatts.
He said, “we are improving, it (power generation) has improved, you can see, I don’t have to tell you.
“We are moving from 3000 megawatts, today we are generating up up to 5000 megawatts or over that, so it is a great improvement”, he said.
He further added that government was making sure that supply was stable and also working towards ensuring that it upgrades the supply “from say 4000 megawatts to 5000 to 6000 to 7000 megawatts and so on.
“So, the more we replace some obsolete and outdated equipment, the more we improve the supply of electricity.”
On the report that states that over 70 per cent of Nigerians who have electricity supply have less than 12 hours a day, he said, “It all depends. You know we have graded the supply based on the metering.
“Unless the metres are sufficient, we will not know which and where to push 24 hours supplies because there are some people who are ready for 24 hours and there are those who are not ready for 24 hours supply of light.
“So, we have graded according to that priorities and like we have been saying, I will keep telling Nigerians that this tariff issue, those who are not getting 24 hours are not equally charged like those who are getting 24 hours. So, there is a difference. Until you have a metre, then you’ll know what you consume at the end of the day”, he said.