Senate halts FG’s N309bn electricity bond plan, seeks probe of proposal

THE Senate, on Tuesday, halted the plan by the Federal Government to raise a secured bond of N309 billion to finance the shortfall in the Nigerian electricity market.

The lawmakers said the bond had to be halted pending the

investigation of the sector, to be carried out by its Joint Committee on Power and Privitisation.

The decision was taken following the adoption of a motion by Senator Muhammed Bukar, who noted that the bond was being

planned despite a March 2015 bailout of the sector by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the tune of N213 billion.

In adopting the motion, however, the Senate specifically urged the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Nigeria

Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to immediately put a stop to the planned bond being organised by the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).

The Senate, thereafter, mandated its committees on Power and

Privatisation to investigate the post-privatisation performance of all players in the power sector, in line with their performance agreement.

He said the risk of default on the bond would cause the crystallisation of the Federal Government Sovereign Guarantee, which may eventually lead to national energy crisis in the future.

According to him, the shortfall had continued to escalate at the rate of about N15 billion per month, which is equivalent to N500 million daily, adding that the total shortfall as of December 31, 2015, stood at N400 billion.