Presidency Faults Punch Report, Says ‘We Didn’t Sell $81.48bn Electricity To African Countries’ | TimeTestedNews

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* Declares figure exaggerated

The Presidency has justified why Nigeria entered into electric power export agreements with some neighbouring countries, saying it was, and still is, in the strategic interest of the country.

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The Presidency specifically said the power export agreements were to discourage those countries from building dams on the path of River Niger, the major source of Nigeria’s hydroelectric power.

Nigeria is in bilateral agreements with Republic of Togo, Benin Republic and Niger Republic, causing Nigeria to sell electricity power to those countries, through which River Niger crosses.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, disclosed in a statement on Tuesday that the total indebtedness of Niger to Nigeria is $16 million, while Benin owes Nigeria $4 million.

The statement also added the actual cost of electricity generated within 2018-2019 by all the electricity generation companies in Nigeria is about N1.2 trillion ($4 billion).

The statement was reacting to a published report by The Punch Newspapers, which claimed that the trio of Togo, Benin and Niger Republics owe a debt in power purchase to Nigeria to the tune of $81.48 billion, while most parts of Nigeria languish in darkness.

Describing the report as hyperbolic and terribly misleading, the Presidency said that apart from the fact the figure quoted was far from accurate, out-dated and not reflective of the current reality, the overall cost of power generated and sold by Nigeria in the period covered by report was not anywhere close to what was mentioned in the said report..

Shehu said: “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.

“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 $16 million and Benin, USD $ million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2billion.

“The essence of 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.”