The Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Sen. Ben Bruce, says he is against the further provision of electricity intervention fund as subsidy for operators or any increases in tariff in the country’s electricity sector.
Bruce stated this during an oversight visit to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said the sector was yet to record any improvement despite the enormous finances invested in the sector after privatisation.
He, therefore, said that the call for further subsidy for the sector and increase in electricity tarrif was uncalled for.
“If there is going to be an increase, I am familiar with an increase of 3 per cent, 5 per cent annually.
“As a Nigerian citizen I am not in favour of a 200 per cent increase, the same way I am not in favour of 200 per cent of petrol price , or any other product.
“Nigerians are suffering enough and because Nigerians are suffering, I cannot in good conscience say to the average consumer of power in the village, you are going to have a 300 per cent increase .
“And the argument they make is that ok , is the only way there will be power .
“In my business, nobody gives me subsidy, in Dangote’s business, nobody gives him subsidy and if we all survive in the same market, nobody gives us subsidy, why should I give them subsidy.
“ If they chose to be in this market, and they are in this market to make profit, then find the way to cut your cost and I will not vote for the government to give them 1 trillion naira.
“ No subsidy and no tariff increase, but there must be a way for the industry to survive.
“But I am totally against subsidy and I am totally against tariff increase I don’t think it is right, if they are going to give subsidy and power increase , give it to all sectors of the economy. ”
He expressed worry over the monopolistic nature of the current operators in the sector, noting that there was the need to create competitive environment for other interested investors in the sector.
“ I believe all we have done is creating state monopolies and I believe those state monopolies do not solve our problems.
“We have gotten rid of NEPA,now we have state monopolies, so if a state monopoly says this is my price, what are you going to do?.
“They could have tested the privatization system, in a small environment to see if it will work, I understand it worked in India, it is not working here, it is a disaster,“ he said.(NAN)