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FG Can’t Continue to subsidize Electricity – Minister of Power

According to Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu, the federal government cannot continue to subsidize the power sector.

Adelabu said this while expressing concern about the country’s poor electricity supply situation, which is caused by several issues, including outstanding subsidy debts.

Briefing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, the minister stated that the country must begin to transition to a cost-effective tariff model, as the country is currently owed 1.3 trillion naira to generating companies (GenCos) and 1.3 billion dollars by gas companies.

According to him, more than N2 trillion is required for subsidies, but only N450 billion has been budgeted this year.

He stated that state governments will now be able to generate power independently to supply power to their respective states.

This is coming days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised President Bola Tinubu-led administration to completely phase out electricity subsidy in the country, despite the hardship Nigerians are facing since the removal of fuel subsidy in May 2023.

According to its published ‘Post Financing Assessment (PFA)’ report, the IMF said the federal government had overwhelmed itself, thus recommending that the total removal of both fuel and electricity subsidies must be implemented.

The Bretton Woods Institution made this recommendation as the mechanism for Nigeria to restore macroeconomic stability, coming as corroboration to what the government had said late last year that electricity subsidy between January and September 2023 had gulped N375.8 billion, as power consumers paid a total of N782.6bn for the commodity during the same period.

The IMF commended the federal government on the reforms it had implemented so far but reiterated that the fuel and electricity subsidies should be removed.

The global lender said: “The new administration has made a strong start, tackling deep-rooted structural issues in challenging circumstances.

“Immediately, it adopted two policy reforms that its predecessors had shied away from: fuel subsidy removal and the unification of the official exchange rates. Since then, the new CBN team has made price stability its core mandate and demonstrated this resolve by dropping its previous role in development finance.

“On the fiscal side, the authorities are developing an ambitious domestic revenue mobilization agenda. Like many other countries, Nigeria faces a difficult external environment and wide-ranging domestic challenges.
“External financing (market and official) is scarce, and global food prices have surged, reflecting the repercussions of conflict and geo-economic fragmentation.

“Per capita growth in Nigeria has stalled, poverty, and food insecurity are high, exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis.

“Low reserves and very limited fiscal space constrain the authorities’ option space. Against this backdrop, the authorities’ focus on restoring macroeconomic stability and creating conditions for sustained, high and inclusive growth is appropriate.
“The CBN has set out on a welcome path of monetary tightening. The Governor has committed to making price stability the core objective of monetary policy, and the CBN has taken actions to mop up excess liquidity.
“Continuing to raise the monetary policy rate until it is positive in real terms would be an important signal of the direction of monetary policy.”

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