Friday, 4 October 2019

Reps Passes Bill Criminalizing Estimated Billing On Consumers; Olusegun Ariyo





Image result for eko disco
The House of Representatives On Thursday passed three-bill sponsored by speaker Femi Gbajabiamila one of which seeks to Prohibit estimated Billing of Energy supply by distribution companies on its consumers.
The bill is expected to get a concurrence accent by the senate and then the president before coming to force. The bill, after the assent, will become criminal for service providers to issue estimated bills, also known as crazy bill issuance to which would attract either one-year jail term or fine of one million or both.   


The law, when passed would also, compel a distribution company to provide prepaid meter to applicants within thirty days while barring the DISCO’S from disconnecting the consumer after the 30 days period within which meter should be installed.

The Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, which Gbajabiamila, then as Majority Leader, presented in the Eighth National Assembly, was re-presented in July 2019.
The bill is entitled, ‘A bill for an act to amend the electric power sector reforms Act to prohibit and criminalise estimated billing by electricity distribution companies and provide for compulsory installation of pre-paid meters to all power consumers in Nigeria and other related matters.’
Leading the debate on the bill, Gbajabiamila condemned the DISCOs for whimsically issuing estimated bills on a monthly basis.
“This billing is not known by any scientific rule,” he stated.
The House also passed a bill seeking to make Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies reserve 20 per cent of job slots for persons living with disabilities.
It is entitled, “A bill for an act to provide that 20 per cent of jobs available in all Federal Government ministries, departments, agencies and companies be distributed amongst the physically challenged persons in Nigeria and for other matters connected thereto.’
Another bill passed was one seeking to create a bank that grants interest-free loans to students of tertiary institutions in the country.
The bill is entitled, ‘A bill for an act to provide easy access to higher education for Nigerians through interest-free loans Nigerian Education Bank established in this act with a view to providing education for all Nigerians.’
Meanwhile the house also ask the federal government to release the N10bn voted in the 2019 Aappriopration Act for the rehabilitation of people and communities affected by banditry in zamfara state
Adopting the motion, Hon. Bello Shinkafi commend the Speaker for his leadership initiative and expression of love for the people of Zamfara, as exhibited during his visit to assess the situation and influence fruitful peace process.
They also urged the Federal Ministry of Finance to “release the N10bn budgetary allocation for Zamfara State as captured in the 2019 Appropriation Act, in order to facilitate and fast-track the process of the rehabilitation and resettlement of victims of insecurity in Zamfara State,” while mandating the House Committee on Finance to ensure compliance.
Shinkafi, while moving the motion, said, “The insecurity has destroyed the social values and economic standing of the state as well as the means of livelihood of millions of people, such that the focus should now be on peace initiative to ensure the rebuilding, resettlement and rehabilitation of the ravaged parts of the state.
“The House is concerned that the economic situation in the state is pathetic, which accounted for the provision of N10bn in 2019 Appropriation Act, for the resettlement and rehabilitation of the ravaged state. Economic empowerment through rehabilitation and resettlement is key to attaining sustainable peace in the state.”

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