Nigeria: DisCos refuse to let government access their revenue accounts
(Ecofin Agency) - Electricity distribution companies (DisCos) are against the government’s move to escrow their revenue accounts claiming it would mean their nationalization.
The Federal Government, it should be recalled, said it wanted to access the firms’ accounts over the poor market performance on their monthly remittances. At the end of 2016, the Executive Managing Director of the Market Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Moshood Saleeman, said: “the remittance we get from the DisCos is about 30% and that is not good enough. We are talking about less than 30%, we believe if we can do higher than that it will be better for the industry.”
However, in response to this, the Director of Research and Advocacy at the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, said that “any attempt to centralize or escrow the DisCos’ revenue accounts would be tantamount to nationalization or expropriation of the Discos”. “It would also send very wrong signals to domestic and international investors that Nigeria is not fully open for private sector investment,” he added.
The government’s decision to access the DisCos’ accounts comes as the companies were found to owe N107 billion to public services providers including the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET). NBET even said the companies paid far less than 40% of their monthly energy invoices last year.