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Electricity tariff: Buhari, NASS leadership meet, agree to halt increase

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, met with the leadership of the National Assembly led by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan  on the planned increase of electricity tariff after which the plan was suspended.

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who spoke with State House correspondents after meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, described the announcement on the tariff increase as “untimely.”

” We had this discussion with the Vice President and we are sure that that announcement on the tariff increase  is untimely,” he said.

The joint leadership of the National Assembly  had on Monday met with the electricity distribution companies  (DISCOS) and electricity regulatory agency where they agreed to halt the planned tariff increase which is expected to take off on Wednesday, July 1.

According to Lawan, ,”we believe that this is not the right time to increase the tariff in the electricity sector.

“Nigerians have a lot of challenges today because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation requires that we do everything possible to make life easy for our citizens,” he said.

Lawan, however, noted that the government was doing a lot in this respect but, said ” we believe that DISCOS should meet with consumers and find better cost effective tariff.

“But before then, there must be some steps to ensure that the consumers are properly metered otherwise, you will still go back to guessing what consumers are consuming. That is to say, let the billing be scientifically based; it has to be based on what you actually consumed.”

He insisted that there is need to do more work to ensure that the billing system worked properly,  before any increase.

“There must be some measures, steps, line of actions that must be exhausted including the metering. This is a welcome idea to the Vice President as well,” he said.

The Senate President also insisted that the share purchase agreement signed by the government and the DISCOS at the point of the privatization must be adhered to.

“These are businesses and they must do everything possible to provide services. It is when they provide efficient and effective services to consumers that they can make money.

“But as a government, we too must make sure that we discharge our obligations as provided for in the share purchase agreement signed. Once we are able to achieve that, we will have a better situation in the power sector in Nigeria.

“It is doable, it has happened elsewhere. So, we cannot continue to give DISCOS and GENCOS the resources that we can ordinarily deploy to build hospitals.  But whatever is necessary for us to do as part of our agreement with them, we must do,” he assured.

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