In spite of the public outrage over last week’s electricity tariff hike which the government said it was meant to fund electricity infrastructure, the federal government is set to spend additional N152.416 billion in funding the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Bulk Trading Plc in 2021.
This is contained in the 2021, capital budget ceilings in the Pre-Bilateral Proposal circular released by the Budget Office of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning which determines the maximum expenditure of each of the federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
In the proposal, the Federal Ministry of Finance itself is to spend a maximum of N158. 026 billion on capital projects, with NBET taking N152 .416 billion, while the ministry headquarters is to spend N1.015 billion on capital expenditure.
The federal government reportedly spent over N240 billion in the last five years, paying some power plants for electricity that did not get into the grid for the use of the consumers. The monthly payments are based on the “take or pay” clause in the Power Purchase Agreement between the federal government and the affected power generation companies on the understanding that since electricity cannot be stored, whatever was generated must be paid for whether utilized or unutilized.
However, five of such power plants have not been operating due to lack of gas supply to the plants. Meanwhile, in the 2021 capital budget proposal, the Federal Ministry of Power headquarters, National Rural Electrification Agency, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) were allocated N7.35 billion, N12.58 billion, N294.06 million and N441.09 million respectively; while N294.06 million, N914.87 million and N4.09 billion were allocated to National Power Training Institute, Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited and Transmission Company of Nigeria, respectively. In petroleum, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Headquarters is to spend a maximum of N1.16 billion; while the Petroleum Training Institute and Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority were allocated N853.62 million and N792.65 million respectively.
The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR and Petroleum Production Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, were not captured on the table. Meanwhile the Budget Office of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, will, this morning, commence its Bilateral Meetings with the MDAs on the 2021 proposals.
The Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, in circular number HMFBNP/MDAs/2021/BBS/09/2020 and dated September 1, 2020, indicated that the meetings which will create an opportunity for the MDAs to defend their proposals, will commence at 10 .00 am with the Code of Conduct Bureau. According to the minister, the exercise would end on September 7, 2020 and urged the Chief Executive Officers to strictly follow the schedule in which each MDA has one hour to interface with officials of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.