N’Assembly stops KEDCO, others from increasing electricity tariff

Abdullahi Zahraddeen

The National Assembly leadership on Monday prevented an attempt by the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to hike the price of electricity in the country despite inadequate supply.

The Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) and its counterparts, like Kaduna Electric, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Eko Distribution Company have announced a new tariff regime that was due to take effect on July 1, 2020.

But in a meeting between the Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and officials of the National Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC) and those of the Discos, it was agreed that the planned price hike should be postpone until 2021.

This was revealed in a statement by the Special Adviser (Media) to Mr Lawan, Ola Awoniyi on Monday.
“The meeting agreed to defer the planned hike till the first quarter of next year while the leadership of the National Assembly promised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue,” the statement read.
“The agreement here is that there is not going to be any increase in the tariffs on July 1st. “The Speaker and I, we are going to take appropriate action and meet with the President. “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 with you to ensure that we put those blocks in place to support the eventual increase in tariffs,” it added.

According to the Senate President “There is too much stress in the lives of Nigerians today and indeed across the world because of the challenges imposed by COVID-19 pandemic and even before then, we had issues that would always make it tough for our people to effectively pay the tariffs.’’

On his part Mr Gbajabiamila noted that “There cannot be a time as bad as this for us to increase anything. Forget about electricity, anything. Whereas, even in time of decreasing revenue, we are even 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.’’

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