The House of Representatives has urged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to rescind its decision to further increase electricity tariff in June.
The call was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Aniekan Umanah (PDP-Akwa Ibom) at plenary on Thursday.
Moving the motion, Umanah said that it was important to suspend the planned increase in view of the current harsh economic situation in Nigeria.
He said that NERC was established by Electric Power Sector Act of 2005, with a mandate to license Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
Umanah said that NERC, working with Distribution Companies, had increased electricity tariffs five times since 2015 saying that the latest being on Jan. 1.
According to him, in spite of the increase, Nigerians have not enjoyed significant improvement in power supply; instead they are daily grappled with epileptic services from the DISCOs.
“Poor services by the DISCOs have impacted negatively on the socio-economic growth of the country as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Report of 2020 on Nigeria indicated that the manufacturing sector lost over 200 billion dollars to inadequate power supply while a whopping 21billion dollars was said to have been spent by Nigerians on power generation sets within the period under review.
“The Nigerian masses have gone through so much hardship in recent times arising from acts of terrorism, banditry, kidnappings, farmers and herdsmen’s crisis with its toll on agricultural activities, displacement from ancestral homes, loss of loved ones, starvation arising from inability to return to daily occupation and loss of personal properties running into several million of naira.
“Governments all over the world are adopting measures to cushion the devastating effects of COVID–19 pandemic on their citizens by providing a wide range of palliatives to those who suffered general distortion in the social life.
“NERC is tinkering with the idea of a further increase in electricity tariff after that of Jan. 1, in a country where 2/3 of the 200 million population is grappling with the crippling effects of the pandemic.
“The purchasing power of an average Nigerian has drastically reduced, any further hike in electricity tariff at this time will amount to overkill, lack of empathy and height of insensitivity,’’ he said.
The house mandated its Committees on Power, Poverty Alleviation and Labour, Employment and Productivity to ensure compliance and report within two weeks.
By Mayowa Oladeji…
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