NASS, Discos Ask FG To Subsidise Electricity Consumption
The National Assembly and electricity distribution companies have asked the Federal Government to subsidise eletricity consumption.
The Discos had on Monday told the National Assembly leadership that the only condition to halt tariff hike was for the Federal Government to bear the difference between the current tariff and the proposed one.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday insisted that the planned hike in electricity tariff in the country was not timely.
Both lawmakers were in the Presidential Villa to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.
Although details of their meeting were not disclosed, the lawmakers may have spoken to the President on the imperative of the subsidy.
They also met with the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
They said while they agreed on cost-reflective tariff, some measures such as proper metering must be put in place before such hike could be implemented.
Lawan and Gbajabiamila spoke with State House correspondents after meeting separately with Buhari and Osinbajo.
Lawan said the National Assembly leadership believed that this is not the best of time to increase tariff.
Lawan told reporters that Osinbajo agreed with them that proper measures must be put in place before any hike in tariff.
He said the share purchase agreement signed by the government and the Discos at the point of the privatisation must be adhered to.
He added, “These are businesses and they must do everything possible to provide services. It is when they provide efficient and effective services to consumers that they can make money.
“But as a government, we too must make sure that we discharge our obligations as provided for in the share purchase agreement signed. Once we are able to achieve that, we will have a better situation in the power sector in Nigeria. It is doable; it has happened elsewhere.”
Addressing journalists on Tuesday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswam, and his counterpart in the Media and Public Affairs, Dr Ajibola Basiru, said subsidy was imperative.
He said, “Nowhere in the world that power is not subsidised, especially in developing economy because there are genuine people who because of their income are unable to pay what is called cost-reflective tariff.”
The power distributors, on the other hand, said they did not initiate or lobby for the postponement of the implementation of the new electricity tariff that was supposed to kick off on July 1.
Speaking under the aegis of the Association of National Electricity Distributors, the umbrella body of the power firms, the Discos said the National Assembly initiated the move.