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Power minister explains why FG can’t give free electricity to Nigerians during covid-19 lockdown

The Minister of Power, Alhahi Saleh Mamman has explained why it would not be possible for the Federal Government to give free electricity to Nigerians for two months as advocated by the leadership of the National Assembly as a way of relieving the burden of Nigerians brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister, who on Saturday on the BBC Hausa, said power generation companies belong to people who are businessmen and so power generation in the country is 100 percent business.

Mr. Mammam further said electricity bills for Nigerians will amount to cheating the about 80 million Nigerians who do not have access to electricity, while using tax payers money to support already privileged individuals who have access to electricity.

Continuing, the minister further doubted the ability of the Federal Government in paying for two months of electricity, saying it would amount to about N100 billion.

He said: “This matter has not been concluded yet, we are only looking at the possibility of doing so, the fact is, you see this power supply the first thing we do when the government declared this lockdown because of COVID-19 is to ensure there is stable power supply for people to be more comfortable staying at home.

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“You see there are first those generating this power, then those transmitting it as well as those distributing the power to various household, those generating this power are hundred percent private business people that own all of their equipment and it is strictly business.

“If you talk about paying electricity bill for citizens, the first question you ask is who are those that fall under the category of beneficiaries, you know we have over eighty million people who don’t have access to electricity in Nigeria and we have over two hundred millions Nigerians so if you decided to pay bill for one hundred and twenty million people, the question is who are you paying for, those privileged people in Maitama Victoria Island and other highbrow areas or those with companies and doing businesses and making profits while you abandoned the less privilege who don’t even have access to the electricity.

“You see this free electricity bill will be paid with taxpayers money and you want to serve the interest of the privileged Nigerians, then the less privilege and the vulnerable what are going to do for them”, he queried.

Affirming that it would be a difficult task for the government to pay two months of electricity bill for Nigerians, Mamman said: “Every month what we pay as electricity bill, I mean what the distribution company are paying with the little support from government is a little above fifty billion naira monthly.

The minister, who disclosed that he has explained to members of the National Assembly that initiated the idea of free electricity for Nigerians citizens, however said that if the lawmakers insisted, they should come up with ideas on how to go about it.

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