The Senate yesterday asked the federal government of Nigeria to stop the idea of increasing electricity tariff it was proposing saying there no justification for its power supply and its proposed tariff increase.
Explaining further on the developments at the plenary of the red chamber, the president of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan lamented the terribly poor electricity supply in the country despite the privatization of the sector, and as justification, the lawmakers sought an immediate reversal of the power sector privatization carried out by the last administration for “failure to deliver.”
The Senate also urged the Federal Government to suspend the planned increase in electricity tariff scheduled to take effect from July 1, 2020, so as not to escalate the hardship Nigerians are currently suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adopting a motion sponsored by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswam, the upper chamber declared that if the privatization in the power sector was not reversed, Nigeria might stop having electricity in the next 10 years.
Lawan, who presided over yesterday’s plenary session said: “We gave power to them (power generation and distribution companies) and they still come to the public to ask for funds. I think it’s time for Nigeria to consider reversing the privatisation of the power sector or they should just cancel the entire privatisation process completely. If we leave it, we may not have power for another ten years.
“We expected efficiency and something better. The distribution companies have no capacity to supply us power. We shouldn’t continue to give them money. They’re private businesses. We need to review this whole thing. Something is wrong.”
The Senate also mandated its committee on power to investigate all Federal Government’s interventions in the power sector since the privatization to date with a view to ascertaining the adequacy of such interventions and their desired impact, and to report back within four weeks.
The committee was charged to investigate all market participants in the power value chain and ascertain the level of corporate governance compliance in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and to report back within four weeks.
“We request the Federal Government to consider additional tariff support to cushion the effect of rate shock over a fixed period to allow the time required for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the distribution companies to access funds to implement performance improvement investments that will benefit customers especially during the pandemic.
The lawmakers commended the Federal Government “for the proactive initiative to establish the N1.7trillion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund to cater for issues that are critical to the effective management of the pandemic and to stimulate a gradual return to normal socio-economic activities in the country.”
They urged the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance to include the power sector in the disbursement of the proposed N500billion COVlD-19 Crisis Intervention Fund in order to ameliorate the financial hazards and operational challenges such as the enumeration of metering of actual consumers and other recent problems caused by the pandemic.