Experts laud CBN financial discipline in power sector, decry poor service

Energy experts have said financial discipline introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the electricity industry has achieved desired results, especially transparency in revenue collection in the sector.

But the stakeholders called for improvement in electricity supply, stressing that the sector must not smile to the bank when service is poor.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had year directed Deposit Money Banks to take charge of collection of electricity bill payments in the country.

President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, NCPN, Kunle Olubiyo disclosed that the initiative by the apex bank deserves commendable. Olubiyo said transparency in the sector due to the initiative was a good step that will allow all the players in the market to closely monitor the revenue coming into the market.

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He said: “Right now, every stakeholder in the sector sees the revenue that comes in. There are different lines for expenditures, so government and other stakeholders can recover their money. These have helped in revenue efficiency and collection.” Apart from transparency, Olubiyo the move equally ensured discipline in the finances of the sector, thereby increasing the level of revenue into the market.

“The move is not out place. The equity for private sector is only 40 with the 60 per cent for government. Before 2020 thing well done with impunity until CBN escrowed the accounts.

“The decline in service is however worrisome for end user. With more money coming into the sector, there should no longer be excuse for the sector. No reason for metering for lack of metering,” Olubiyo said.

Under heavy debt, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had said the federal government has pumped about N1.5 trillion in intervention fund into Nigeria’s power sector in the last two years.

While more loans had been offered to the sector, including funding for metering of consumers, recovering the loan had been a challenge until the accounts were escrowed.

The initiative by the apex bank according to Partner, Nextier Power, Emeka Okpukpara reduced financial liquidity in the sector and introduced transparency. Okpukpara maintained that the plan enabled players in the sector to have access to information.

According to him, apart from offering visibility to the sector’s finance, the effort by the apex bank ensured payment of debts as first line charges.

Okpukpara said: “The financial discipline allows visibility of what Discos are collecting. It allows debts such as generation, services, and other charges to be settled first before operating expenses.

Transparency is most cases increases trust in a system therefore I would recommend that the collection figures are made public since Discos are custodians of market funds rather than the owners.”

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