Banks to take over collection of electricity bills
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed commercial banks to take over the collection of electricity bill payments in the country.
The development is aimed at improving revenue collection efficiency and financial liquidity in the industry.
The latest quarterly report of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had noted that the distribution companies (DisCos) are having challenges with revenue collection.
The CBN gave the directive to the banks in a circular dated August 21, 2120, and signed by the director of banking supervision, Bello Hassan.
The circular reads, ”The payment or settlement of all Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) related goods or services shall be made through the Nigerian banking system.
“Consequently, all collections for the payments of NESI regulated goods and services provided by a DisCo shall be paid into a designated account such that collections arising from services rendered by the DisCo shall be paid into an account in the sole name of the DisCo; collections arising from services rendered by a third party/parties on behalf of the DisCo shall be paid into an account in the joint name of the DisCo and the third-party vendor(s).
“All energy and non-energy collections of DisCos, whether cash or cashless, shall only be performed by deposit money banks (DMBs).
“No entity shall be permitted to collect revenues for DisCos except if that entity is so authorized by a DMB in line with the relevant CBN guidelines for agent banking and agent banking relationships.
“Therefore, the DMB shall be permitted to authorize its agents to collect energy and non-energy payments on its behalf for any DisCo; the actions or inactions of the agent shall be the responsibility of the authorizing DMB.
“Any DMB found to be maintaining any account(s) for any entity collecting payments on behalf of any DisCo without appropriate authorization shall have regulatory actions imposed on it.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no DMB is permitted to open or continue to maintain a collection account for a DisCo without the express no-objection of the DMB that guaranteed its exposure to NBET or TCN.”