Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Sunday Nigerians were willing to pay for electricity if the services they received from the distribution companies improved.
Osinbajo, who expressed this view while featuring in a webinar on Economic Sustainability Beyond COVID-19 organised by Emmanuel Chapel in Abuja, dismissed claims that Nigerians were unwilling to pay more for power supply.
He added that citizens had been unhappy with the poor service from players in the power sector over the years.
“I have alluded to the argument that income elasticity is more important for persons living in the rural area and for the poor who need to have electricity for whatever means of livelihood they have.
“What we have discovered especially as we have worked with private sector to deploy solar power in different parts of the country is exactly the point raised by Nigerians.
“For example, in Wuna, a village which is just outside Abuja, they never had light until a private company provided solar power there.
“What they pay on average for their power is well in excess of the N37 per unit that we pay for power off the grid.
“Turankawa in Sokoto pays almost N100. So, from many of the areas where we have been it is evident that this business of people not willing to pay for power is not true at all.
“As a matter of fact the reason there is such great resistance is really the service level.
“Most people are used to poor service so they just see every tariff increase as injustice because they are getting poor service but are asked to pay more.
“But where service is guaranteed people have been prepared to pay.’’
The vice president listed the Sabon Gari market in Kano, Ariaria market in Aba and in Sura market in Lagos and several different parts of the country as instances where people paid for better services.
According to him, the question really was one of service as there must be a way of guaranteeing service in exchange for tariff increase.
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