16 February 2016

Nigeria: Senate Condemns "Ultra-Wicked" Electricity Tariff Hike, Demands Reversal

The Nigerian Senate has asked the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and electricity distribution companies to immediately suspend the new electricity tariffs that has seen charges raised by over 40 per cent.

The Senate gave the order Tuesday, following a motion sponsored by Suleiman Nafiz (APC-Bauchi North).

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, described the tariff raise as "ultra-wicked and unconscionable".

Despite Nigeria's dismal electricity output, the federal government implemented the new tariff regime on February 1, sparking widespread criticisms and nationwide street protests by the organised Labour.

But the Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the measure was a "bitter pill" Nigerians must swallow to enjoy optimal service delivery in the power sector.

Mr. Nafiz asked the Senate to probe how funds allocated to electricity companies were spent.

In his contribution, Dino Melaye, (APC-Kogi west) noted that the latest increase in electricity tariff was the fourth since the privatisation of power.

"We ask for an immediate reversal of the 40 percent increase in electricity tariff because it is arbitrary," he said.

Also speaking against the new regime, Mr. Ekweremadu said, "As a country on life-support we do not need to add to the suffering of the people.

"For me this tariff increase is ultra-wicked and unconscionable. We must reverse it immediately."

Nigeria

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