The World Bank and some multilateral agencies in Washington have applauded the power sector recovery plan of Minister of Works, Power, Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, and offered to render financial support.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who disclosed this as head of Nigeria’s delegation to the World Bank-IMF meetings in Washington, USA, also reassured Nigerians that the cash recoveries being made by agencies of government in President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption drive would not be re-looted.
She quoted the World Bank and IMF as saying that the power sector recovery plan of Fashola was realistic. In a meeting with the agencies, Fashola was said to have presented the power plan, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, only about a month ago, and secured the support of the financial institutions.
According to Adeosun, at a press briefing in Washington, “what the power sector recovery plan has done is to look at all the problems really honestly. The multilateral agencies have looked at the plan we have put together and they like it because, as they said it is realistic.
“We have really dimensioned all the issues from GenCos to DisCos to end users to metering, and one thing that everybody is very clear of is that it is a big problem. “So, it is a large problem that will take some time to solve, but the most important thing is that there are milestones of what we are expecting to see. “The multilateral agencies have pledged their support financially, because those investments are tied to certain results.
For example, if you look at the issues around the transmission, power is generated, but can’t be evacuated because the transmission capacity is not there. So, just investing in the transmission capacity in certain areas will change the power outlook.
“From the impression I got, yesterday, from the meeting,they were optimistic that if we actually implement what we’ve planned, and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing was very emphatic that he is going to drive the implementation. “I feel quite optimistic that it is realistic. We are not saying throw away your generator by December, it is a realistic plan, but it is going to take time.
“If we have power, a lot of factories that have closed down can re-open. So, it ties with our Economic and Recovery Growth Plan.’ Recovered funds will not be re-looted On recovered funds, she assured that the money would not be re-looted, stressing that the country now has a single account for reconciling recovered funds, to avoid re-looting.
She said: “We have a recovery account. All the recovered monies go into the recovery account which we reconcile. “Now, in the budget, there was the provision that some recovered monies would go into it and that goes into specific projects in the budget. Any excess recoveries, we have to wait and take some decisions. So far, we have recovered up to the amount we are expecting in the budget.
“But what we are trying to do is to make sure that there are controls, that was why we created a central recovery account. What we also discovered is that so many agencies are recovering and we must keep and eyes on those recoveries, otherwise there is the risk of re-looting.”
“So, all the agencies that recover send us their returns monthly and then we sweep it into a central account, which is kept by the Accountant General so that we can reconcile. “Even some of the cash that is recovered, we have to make sure it goes into the bank.
You’d be surprised, some agencies will recover cash, and they think it is evidence, and we are saying no, it’s money, put it in the bank. “This is something that is new and I think it is a good thing. As we recover more, we get better at it. It is a new thing in Nigeria.” According to SBM Intelligence, a consulting firm, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recorded 38 recoveries, which amount to N146.4 billion, $217.3 million and £2.074 million, as at April 19, 2017.