The leadership of the National Assembly have intervened on the planned increase in electricity tariffs from July 1st, 2020 and succeeded in convincing the Distribution Companies(DISCOs) to defer the plan till the first quarter of 2021.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and other principal officers of the two Chambers met at the National Assembly with the Chief Executives of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and DISCOs across the country.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser (Media) to President of the Senate, Ola Awoniyi confirmed the development on Monday.
It said that the National Assembly leaders were categorical at the meeting that the timing of the planned increase.
The statement said that during the meeting the DISCOs admitted that they were not well prepared for the planned hike in tariffs despite desiring the increase.
‘’The meeting agreed to defer the planned hike till the first quarter of next year while the leadership of the National Assembly promised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue, ‘’said the statement.
According to Lawan, “The agreement here is that there is not going to be any increase in the tariffs on July 1st. “The Speaker and I, we are going to take appropriate action and meet with the President. “We are in agreement here that there is no question on the justification of the increase but the time is simply not right and appropriate measures need to be put in place “So between now and the first quarter of next year, our task will be to work together with you to ensure that we put those blocks in place to support the eventual increase in tariffs.’’
The statement added that “There is too much stress in the lives of Nigerians today and indeed across the world because of the challenges imposed by COVID-19 pandemic and even before then, we had issues that would always make it tough for our people to effectively pay the tariffs.’’
The statement noted that Femi Gbajabiamila said, “There cannot be a time as bad as this for us to increase anything. Forget about electricity, anything. Whereas, even in time of decreasing revenue, we are even reducing the pump price. I don’t know how we can justify an increase in the cost of electricity at this time in Nigeria. “The good things is that we have agreed that we need to do something about the cost.’’
The representatives of the DISCOs said if the planned increase is eventually deferred until next year, the government should continue to bear the difference in the present tariff and what was considered as the appropriate tariff.
Those in attendance were the Chairmen of the Committees on Power from the Senate and House of Representatives, the representatives of NERC, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Eko Electricity Distribution Company and Kano Electricity Distribution Company.