Army, ministries owe Nigeria's power coy N41billion

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DESMOND UTOMWEN/Abuja

A whopping N41bn is owed the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

This revelation was made at the House of Representatives this morning by the chairman of the House committee on power, Patrick Ikhariale, while presenting a motion on the huge debt owed the body and the threat it poses to the continued survival of the agency which he described as one of the government agencies tagged endangered species.

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According to the chairman, the huge debt is part of the numerous problems confronting the electricity company, a situation that has made the body prostate and unable to discharge its responsibility of generating, transmitting and distributing power to Nigerians.

Ikhariale listed the Armed Forces as the most culpable of the government agencies that have apparently resolved not to pay bills for power supplied to their various formations. The Power Committee chairman regretted that these government agencies collect monies annually as part of the budgetary provisions without necessarily refunding the unspent fund to the treasury in violation of the financial laws.

Members who spoke on the issue agreed that it will be difficult for the power company to continue to provide the people power in the face of these huge debts. Some however also took a swipe on the PHCN as its inefficiency over time may have been responsible for the outright refusal of people and government organisations to pay their bills.