Nigeria's Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said that the country recovered over $64.63 million debts from electricity supply to Benin Republic and Niger Republic.Nigeria supplies electricity to the two countries in line with the agreement that they won't dam the River Niger that sustains the hydro-power plant at the Kainji Dam in northern Nigeria.
Similarly, Fashola, in his report of progress, said the sector has made since he took over as minister, claimed that critics of the government were finding it hard to accept the level of progress the sector has recorded so far.
The minister also announced that Rural Electrification Agency (REA) had completed guidelines for the operation of the rural electrification fund.
"By way of explanation, the rural electrification fund was created by section 88 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) of 2005 to promote support and provide rural electrification access". What they are likely to get are minimum amounts of $10,000 (N3.5m) and maximum amounts of $300,000.
According to him, REA will publish details of the guidelines and eligibility.
Fashola who stated that progress was also being recorded at the distribution end of the sector controlled by the private sector, listed some of the achievements to include the newly completed Asaba main 2x15MVA injection substation commissioned on Monday.
During the meeting, the federal government had requested that both countries pay their outstanding bills to allow electricity companies keep up with their supply obligation to them.
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"Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week and month by month we have not only gained momentum, we are seeing progress that inspires us to continue, because the power problem can be successfully managed by Nigerians".
"The line also raised the number of circuits from Onitsha to Benin to three".
He also hinted that installation of a new 60mva 132/33kv transformer would commence at Irrua transmission station any time from now.
The Nation reports that the minster thanked well-meaning Nigerians who acknowledged that their experience with power supply had improved, adding that their honesty-inspired government and the operators to continue the improvement.
The Minister added that the west African country was experiencing other challenges that must be collectively addressed.
He however urged the parties to note that the agreements will reach on meter supply will be subject to the regulation that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is about to present.
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