Guineans, Togolese, Malians Pay More for Electricity than Nigerians – Power Minister

Adebayo Adelabu, the Minister of Power, has stated that inhabitants of other African countries, including as Guinea, Togo, and Mali, pay more for energy than Nigerians do.

According to Adelabu, Nigerians are willing to pay more for energy if they receive better value for their money.

The minister made the statement on Thursday while visiting Ikeja Electric’s corporate headquarters in Lagos State.

During a meeting with the distribution company’s management, Adelabu stated that stakeholders in the electricity supply chain must work together to lay the groundwork for the withdrawal of electricity subsidies in favor of a cost-reflective tariff.

According to him, the issues of electricity are not insurmountable provided all stakeholders perform their responsibilities effectively.

He voiced concern that some of the 11 power distribution corporations were not prepared to invest in power infrastructure.

He stated that the government will put an end to this by enacting legislation that would mandate capitalization for all discos.

“A lot of our distributors are satisfied with the status quo. There are some high-impact investments you can make in infrastructure that will double your fortune. It translates to increased revenue for you. Some Discos are not ready to put in any money, they are just satisfied getting that their monthly stipend pocket money.

“We will not allow that. That is why we are saying that if by persuasion we cannot achieve it, we will achieve it by legislation. We are looking at capitalisation requirements for Discos, which will compel them to pay more funds.

“Power business is highly capital intensive. It requires a lot of investments and infrastructure, and the investment can never be lost. It will also transform into sales and revenue for Discos. So we believe that our Discos must be ready to invest in high-impact infrastructure,” the minister said.

Adelabu stated that Nigerians are complaining over the current low power supply occasioned by gas constraints because there is much heat and fuel is no longer affordable due to subsidy removal.

He opined that Nigerians would pay more for power if it relieves them of the cost of buying fuel.

“It’s not like we have not experienced this kind of thing before, but the heat is too much now, while petrol and diesel for generators are no longer affordable. People who have been spending N2,000 on fuel now need N10,000. They cannot afford it; so, the noise is much.

“I believe a lot of people will be ready to pay for electricity, whether at the current tariff or an increased tariff because ultimately we are going to migrate to the full cost-reflective tariff. Over the next three years, we should migrate. The government cannot continue to subsidise the cost of electricity.

“Guinea, Togo, Mali, Ivory Coast, and all the neighbouring countries that we have that are supposed to be poorer than Nigeria, they pay more than double what we pay here. I believe that our people will be ready, once they are sure of reliable and consistent supply.,” he added.

While welcoming the minister to Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of Ikeja Electric, Folake Soetan, said the challenges of the country’s power sector are not insurmountable.

According to her, the power distribution company had gone through various stages of transformation over the years, from raising its customer base from 700,000 in 2015 to over 1 million in 2023.

Soetan also disclosed that the Disco has metered 800,000 of its customers while acquiring new transformers.

However, she stressed that there are challenges of energy theft and asset vandalisation, calling on the Minister for support.

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