The amount, according to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was to cover various items in line with the implementation of the power sector roadmap.
For instance, she said N8.27 billion was specifically released last week to the power ministry for the distribution companies (DISCOs) and generating companies (GENCOs), following approval by President Goodluck Jonathan.
She revealed that her ministry had on May 23, this year announced the payment of N72.7 billion to the ministry of power.
The amount included the sum of N45 billion paid to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) workers as part of the power privatisation programme.
It also included the sum of N5 billion paid for the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO).
Other beneficiaries were the power ministry headquarters, PHCN, National Rural Electrification Agency, National Electricity Regulatory Commission, National Power Training Institute, National Electricity Liability Management Limited/GTE (NELMCO) and Bulk Trader.
A breakdown of the figures, according to her, showed that N59,089,522,721 billion was paid in the first quarter, while N13,733,822,832 was paid in the second quarter.
Therefore, the minister frowned at media reports that quoted the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Power, Mr. Patrick Ikhariale, as criticising her for allegedly failing to release funds meant for the power sector.
Okonjo-Iweala, according to a statement from her Special Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, said: “The statement, if it was truly made, is not only completely wrong but tends to personalise an important national issue.
“It also betrays a limited understanding of the current status of power sector financing which the administration of President Jonathan has made a key priority in the implementation of the power roadmap.”
Against this background, she argued that the notion that she was personally responsible for current power supply challenges facing the country was “absolutely wrong and cannot be justified by the facts.”
Information from This Day was used in this report.