The Minister of Defence, Monsur Dan-Ali, informed the House of Representatives Committee on Defence of the electricity debts accumulated over the years due to the failure of the services to pay their electricity bill. Electricity debts of the Army, Navy and Air Force were captured in the 2016 budget of the Ministry of Defence.
According to the document: “PHCN (defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria) outstanding debt. This is an accumulated debt for the services arising from non-payment of their electricity bills, the amount involved is N9.4bn out of the N16bn proposed as capital vote for 2016, the sum of N11.8bn was earmarked for “judgement debts.”
“N2.7bn is proposed in the 2016 budget to settle the claim arising from court injunctions for forceful closure of 269 shops at Giwa Barracks, Lagos, in 2007,” the document added.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, protested against the deduction of over N300m from the army’s allocation quarterly to offset its share of the accumulated electricity debts.
“We are paying over N300m quarterly, the ministry of finance should stop the deduction,” the army chief said.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Rima Shawulu, said the ongoing controversy around the misapplication of the $2.1bn budgeted for arms procurement had exposed the weaknesses in the procurement processes of the Federal Government. However, members of the committee are more concerned about the welfare and safety of soldiers deployed in the North-East to fight Boko Haram.