Aso Villa, DHQ, CBN Face Disconnection Over N47bn Debt

Aso Villa, DHQ, CBN Face Disconnection Over N47bn Debt

No fewer than 86 ministries, agencies and departments of government are owing the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to the tune of N47bn.

According to a public notice by the management of the AEDC, the Presidential Villa owes the DisCo the sum of N923.9m; the National Security Adviser owes N95.9bn; the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory being supervised by Nyesom Wike owes the sum of N7.57bn, while Adebayo Adelabu’s Ministry of Power is indebted to the tune of N78m.

In the notice on Monday, the AEDC said it would be constrained to list the names of MDAs with “long outstanding unpaid bills for services rendered to them through the provision of electricity supply in that our previous attempts to make them honour their obligations have not been achieved the desired result”.

The AEDC threatened to disconnect the MDAs in 10 days should they fail to pay their debts.

“The relevant MDAs are hereby given notice that the AEDC shall after the expiration of 10 days from the date of this publication, that is, after Wednesday, 28th February 2024, embark on disconnection of our services to them until they discharge their obligations to us by paying their debts,” it threatened.

 The PUNCH reports that the Chief of Defence, staff barracks as well as military formations is the most indebted, with N12bn; the Ministry of Finance owes N5.43bn; and the Niger State Governor’s Abuja liaison office has a debt of N3.45bn.

Similarly, the Ministry of State Petroleum owes N2.13bn; Ministry of Education, N1.82bn; Central Bank Governor, N1.56bn; the Nigeria Police Force, N1.38bn; MD World Bank, N17.60m; Rivers State Governor’s Abuja liaison office, N15m; Ogun State Governor’s Abuja liaison office, N1.51m; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, N291.30m; Independent National Electoral Commission, N75m; Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, N60.55m; Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, N846m; and National Youth Service Corps, N56.38m.

Others include the Ministries of Health, Information, Trade & Investment, Budget & Planning, Agriculture, Communication, Culture & Tourism, Transport, Mines, Science & Tech, Environment, Women Affairs, Justice, and Labour.

Also, the liaison offices of the governors of Lagos, Edo, Kaduna, Anambra, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Zamfara, Enugu, Nasarawa, and Katsina are owing the Abuja DisCo.

In the same vein, the AEDC said it was being owed by the United Nations’ Abuja liaison office; the Comptroller General of Customs; the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Clerk of the National Assembly; the State Security office; the Head of ECOWAS; the Chief Justice of the FCT, COREN, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, and others.

Media reports that Minister of Power, Adelabu, whose ministry is owing the AEDC, has repeatedly complained that unpaid debt is one of the factors affecting the nation’s power sector.

 Adelabu had said lack of liquidity was a major constraint to the sector, calling for a cost-reflective tariff.

When contacted, Adelabu’s media aide, Bolaji Tunji, said the minister did not owe a dime in as an electricity bill since he assumed office a few months ago.

According to Tunji, Adelabu, who has been complaining of lack of liquidity in the power sector couldn’t have owed the Abuja Disco.

He said the minister had never failed to approve the payment of electricity bills every month.

However, Tunji said the debt might have been inherited by Adelabu from his predecessors.

“I am not sure the Ministry of Power is included. I wouldn’t know whether it is an old debt, prior to the current minister assuming office. But I can tell you that there is no month that the paper comes to his office that he delays. He signs it immediately. In fact, he has reasons to tell some people when in my presence that he had never delayed prompt payment of electricity bills. Because he believes that there should be liquidity in the industry, he wouldn’t be the one who would now delay payment for electricity. He never did, he doesn’t do that. I saw the report that the DisCo said they are going to disconnect the MDAs; but I can tell you that unless it is an old debt, there is no month the bill comes to his office that the minister doesn’t approve immediately. I can tell you that,” Tunji said.

Contacted, FAAN’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Obiageli Orah, asked our correspondent to send a copy of the public notice, which was sent to her immediately.

However, her response was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.

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