Nigeria has threatened to cut electricity supply to neighbours Togo and Niger over a $16 million debt as the country’s power utilities grapple with capital deficits.
The Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Mohammed, said that supply to the two countries had already been restricted.
Niger owes $2 million and Togo $14 million. The countries have reduced the debt from $100 million a couple of years back.
“We will disconnect them. Electricity is not charity,” Mr Mohammed said.
Nigeria, he said, had restricted supply and the countries should pay the debts or they be cut off.
TCN is battling poor infrastructure which has hampered smooth operations of Generating Companies (GENCOs) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
The firms require money to upgrade infrastructure in response to increasing demand at home and abroad.
The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) last week called a strike to force the firms to pay outstanding allowances and salaries. The strike was later suspended to pave way for negotiations.
While Nigeria has pledged to respect bilateral agreements with Togo, Benin which has since cleared its debts, and Niger, the country’s Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says the buyers should be ready to pay commercial rates for the supply.
Nigeria supplies 300 megawatts of electricity to Togo, Benin and Niger.