Fashola: Why FG can’t reverse hike in electricity tariff

Fashola: Why FG can’t reverse hike in electricity tariff

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 10:51 pm

Raji Fashola: Minister of Power, Housing and Works

Raji Fashola: Minister of Power, Housing and Works

The Federal Government on Tuesday explained why it cannot reverse the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariff as being demanded by Nigerians.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, told members of the Senate Committees on Labour and Power during a public hearing  that a reversal of the tariff will cost the Federal Government over N575 billion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission ( NERC) in January, announced a 45 per cent increment in electricity tariff.

The Senate after considering a motion at plenary in January, directed that the tariff be reversed to enable the Senate to conclude hearing on the case.

However, the minister explained that the new tariff could not be reversed as it was necessary for the market to survive.

He said that a number of indices, such as borrowing rate for investors, exchange rate , availability and cost of gas, among others also contributed to the hike.

“One of the reasons why the tariff had to go up was that a major component, a significant number of our power plant depends on gas and out of about 26 power plants that we have only about three are hydro.

“We were heavily dependent on gas, people were exporting gas because gas was selling outside the country at four dollars and it was selling for domestic use at one dollar,” he said.

The minister said that even with the recent hike in electricity tariff, Nigeria was still among countries with the lowest electricity tariffs in Africa and the world.

Fashola added that since 2005 when the power privatization process started till 2013 when it was concluded, every segment of government was involved and would share the blame if there was any failure.

“Enabling laws for the process were passed by the National Assembly in 2005 , the process completed by the Executive in 2013: if the process was bad, where was oversight?’’ he asked.

Fashola, however, pleaded with the lawmakers and Nigerians to be more patient with government and investors on the process as three years was not enough to judge its success or failure.

Explaining the non-implementation of the directive by Senate to reverse the tariff, Mr Anthony Akah, Acting Chairman, NERC, said that the directive would have created avoidable setbacks in the sector.

He said if the directive was implemented, a market gap of about N575 billion would have been created which would have compounded the initial market gap of N187 billion the take-off tariff put on investors.

He said that NERC was also hindered by a court order, obtained by six generating and distribution companies.

He said that the commission could also not easily reverse the tariff as the process was in compliance with section 76 (8) of the law guiding the operations of the commission.

But the joint committee insisted that it was unacceptable for Nigerians to be paying so much but have limited power supply.

The committee adjourned the public hearing to Wednesday.


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One Comment

  • abass jelili says:

    All we hear is excuses and reasons why we must pay for what we did not enjoy. Continue you have lost the the feelings for the poor. For the past eight years Nigeria cloth you buy your food and fuel your car. You have lost the contact with the suffering masses. Even our President that we so much trust is leaving us behind. If the likes of Fasola are the leaders advising the President, what do you expect for the poor masses trekking fromAbule Egba in Lagos to GRA because their salary is not paid on time due to Electricity. The company they worked for used the money that was meant to pay salary to buy diesel at 208 per liter to fuel generator.

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