Electricity Tariffs: National Assembly Prevails On DISCOs, Defers Planned Hike To 2021


The planned hike in electricity tariffs charged by the power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in Nigeria has been shelved following the intervention of the National Assembly leadership.

At a meeting on Monday, the Assembly leaders prevailed on the executives of the DISCOs, agreeing to defer the hike till first quarter of 2021.

The Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan made this known in a statement made available to journalists by his Special Adviser (Media), Mr. Ola Awoniyi on behalf of the Assembly leadership in Abuja.

Lawan said that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and other principal officers of the two Chambers met with the Chief Executives of the government electricity regulatory body and DISCOs across the country.

The New Diplomat reports that the DISCOs had planned to start charging electricity consumers, the new tariffs from July 1, 2020.

According to Lawan, though there is need to make electricity tariffs in the country cost reflective so as to woo the much needed investment into the power sector, the timing of the planned tarrifs’ hike was wrong.

“The National Assembly leaders were emphatic at the meeting that the timing of the planned hike is wrong, even though they had not much issue in introducing a cost reflective tariffs for the power sector to attract the much needed investment.

“The agreement here is that there is not going to be any increase in the tariffs on July 1. The speaker and I, we are going to take appropriate action and meet with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“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 to ensure that we put those blocks in place to support the eventual increase in tariffs,” he said.

Lawan said that government had been doing a lot as part of its obligations to provide some form of intervention.

“I’m quite aware that for this year, probably starting from last year, over N600 billion was earmarked for this sector to improve.

“The potential increase in the tariffs is definitely something that will be of concern to the National Assembly.

“There is too much stress in the lives of Nigerians and indeed across the world because of the challenges imposed by COVID-19 pandemic.

”Before then, we had issues that will always make it tough for people to effectively pay the tariffs.

“One way or the other, for this business to flourish, for this sector to be appropriately fixed, for it to attract investment, something has to give way.

”There is no doubt about that but it is also crucial that we look at the timing for any of our actions,” Lawan said.

Similarly, Gbajabiamila said that National Assembly was on the same page with the DISCOs on the issue of cost reflective tariffs.

“There is time for everything. A well intended programme or policy of government can fall flat on the face and never recover if you do it at a wrong time. I think we all agree to that.

“There cannot be a time as bad as this for us to increase anything. Forget about electricity.

“Whereas, even in time of decreasing revenue, we are 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,” he said.

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'Dotun Akintomide's journalism works intersect business, environment, politics and developmental issues. Among a number of local and international publications, his work has appeared in the New York Times. He's a winner of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Award. Currently, the Online Editor at The New Diplomat, Akintomide has produced reports that uniquely spoke to Nigeria's experience on Climate Change issues. When Akintomide is not writing, volunteering or working on a media project, you can find him seeing beautiful sites like the sandy beaches that bedecked the Lagos coastline.

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