FG Recovers N12.7 Billion Metering Funds from Local Supplier After 21 Years – Adelabu

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has announced a significant breakthrough in the recovery of public funds, with N12.7 billion retrieved from a local supplier 21 years after an initial payment by the federal government. 

The announcement was made during a press conference in Lagos on Friday, highlighting the ministry’s efforts under Adelabu’s leadership.

In 2003, the federal government allocated N32 billion (equivalent to $200 million at the time) to a local supplier for the procurement of three million electricity meters. 

Despite the substantial investment, no meters were supplied, leaving a significant gap in the country’s metering infrastructure.

 Adelabu detailed the historical context, explaining that the metering gap in Nigeria was less than four million in 2003. The procurement of three million meters was intended to drastically reduce this deficit.

 However, efforts by successive administrations to recover the funds were thwarted, primarily due to the influence of the supplier involved.

“When I came into office, I said this is not possible. All past administrations have tried to retrieve this fund but did not succeed because the supplier was powerful,” Adelabu stated.

 He emphasized that the supplier, a notable figure in the industry, resisted repayment attempts despite the urgent need for metering solutions.

Upon assuming office, Adelabu took decisive action. He engaged directly with President Bola Tinubu to prioritize the recovery of the funds.

 This led to the successful retrieval of N12.7 billion, a significant portion of the N32 billion originally disbursed. 

The recovered funds have been earmarked for metering military formations, though a considerable balance remains outstanding.

Adelabu underscored the persistent metering gap and its implications for the power sector. 

Currently, about seven million out of 13 million eligible customers remain unmetered, leading to widespread reliance on estimated billing.

 This practice has been a major source of discontent among consumers, who often perceive it as unfair and inaccurate.

In response to the ongoing metering challenges, President Tinubu has launched the Presidential Metering Initiative (PMI), appointing Adelabu as the chairman of the newly established Presidential Metering Council. 

The council has been tasked with an ambitious goal: to procure 10 million meters within the next five years.

“This year, two million meters are going to be procured, plus 1.5 million meters from the World Bank. We are going to have 3.5 million meters this year,” Adelabu revealed.

 The World Bank’s support includes a $500 million program, with $155 million dedicated to consumer meters and $345 million aimed at enhancing the capacity of distribution companies (DisCos).

Despite these efforts, the metering programme  faces several challenges. 

The power sector continues to grapple with inadequate investment, energy theft, and bureaucratic hurdles. 

Additionally, the program has been mired in controversy, with the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) alleging the exclusion of local meter manufacturers in favor of foreign suppliers.

Addressing these issues is crucial for achieving a cost-reflective tariff system and reducing the reliance on estimated billing. Proper metering is essential for accurate billing and fostering consumer trust.

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