From Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
THE Presidency yesterday said the Niger Republic and Benin Republic owe the country $20million.
It said while Niger owes only $16 million, Benin owes $4 million, adding that when converted, it amounts to about N1.2billion.
The Presidency also explained that the country entered electricity power export agreements with some of her neighbouring countries so that they would not build dams on the path of River Niger.
The country is in bilateral agreements with Republic of Togo, Benin Republic and Niger Republic causing Nigeria to sell electricity to the countries. River Niger courses through these countries.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency also said the total indebtedness of Niger to Nigeria is $16 million, while Benin owes $4 million.
The statement added that the actual cost of electricity generated within 2018-2019 by all the electricity generation companies in the country was about N1.2 trillion ($4 billion).
The statement was reacting to a new report by a national newspaper (not The Nation), alleging that the trio of Togo, Benin and Niger were owing a debt in power purchase to Nigeria to the tune of $81.48 billion while most part of the country is in darkness.
Describing the said report as hyperbolic and terribly misleading, the Presidency said apart from the fact that the figure quoted was far from accurate, out-dated and not reflective of the current reality, the overall cost of power generated and sold during the period covered by the report was not anywhere close to what was mentioned by the paper.
“The actual cost of electricity generated within the said timeframe (2018-2019) by all the electricity generation companies in Nigeria was about N1.2 trillion ($4 billion).
“Over 90per cent of the electricity generated was distributed and consumed by consumers across the 11 electricity distribution companies in the country.
“Power exported to Niger, Benin and Togo based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with the Government of Nigeria is on the basis that they would not dam the waters that feed our major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.
“As of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to all three customers stood at $69 million, subsequent upon which several payments were made to NBET. Much of this has been repaid by the debtor nations.
“As of today, Niger owes only $16 million and Benin, $4 million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2billion.
“The essence of said bilateral agreements, by which we give them power and they do not build dams on the River Niger means that Nigeria and her brotherly neighbours had avoided the unfolding situation of the Nile River between the sovereign states of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.”