Daily Trust (Abuja)

24 May 2012

Nigeria: Electricity Tariff Adjustment to Favour the Poor - NERC

Minister of labour, Emeka Wogu, Minister of Power, Bath Nnaji, TUC President Peter Esele, TUC Secretary General, John Kolawole at the meeting today

The National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has claimed that the electricity tariff readjustment slated to take effect next month is not going to adversely affect the poor, stressing that the rich will pay more.

Chairman of NERC Sam Amadi stated this at a meeting with the Minister of Power Barth Nnaji, Minister of Labour and Productivity Chief Emeka Wogu and the leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), where he added that rate of consumption will determine whether a customers will be classified as a poor or rich consumer explaining that the higher the consumption, the higher the rate.

"We can announce that we've worked out a plan that will ensure that in the next 18 months everybody is going to have a meter. This is critical because it helps to mitigate revenue loss from the utilities and of course it also helps consumers to make the savings that they can mitigate their own payments.

"Generally people pay for what they do not consume. So, the focus on metering is an attempt to show that people pay for what they just consumed and where necessary pay less by using energy-sufficient bulbs or appliances," Amadi said.

Watch Sam Amadi here:

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On his part, Prof Nnaji said that the United States Export-Import Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government to provide $1.5b in a deal with General Electric (GE) aimed at providing 10,000 mega watts of electricity by 2020.

Nnaji who admitted that there is an issue of distrust on the part of Nigerians towards the government reforms in the power sector, urged Nigerians to believe in the ongoing process.

"Give us a chance. In fact I will make you a promise; starting from next month, you will begin to see power grow in this country and it will not be reversible. The kind of change we enjoyed after the liberalization of the telecommunications sector is the same we would have with these reforms in the power sector."

Watch Bath Nnaji here:

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President General of the TUC Comrade Peter Esele however said Nigerians are tired of timelines issued by government on electricity stability, saying that was the reason for scepticism amongst the populace.

"If after spending billions of dollars, the sector is still not attractive why should we trust the government now? We have not been given reasons why the billions did not improve the sector. I tell you if Nigerians get 13 hours of stable power daily, they will be willing to pay more," Esele added.

He disclosed that the TUC would be meeting with NERC today to get clarification on the modalities for the new pricing.

The labour minister Chief Wogu who called the meeting said it was meant to clear the air about the real intent of the reform in the power sector.

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