Abuja – The House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to halt any plan to increase electricity tariff by 100 per cent in the country.
This followed the unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance raised by Rep. Aliyu Madaki (APC-Kano).
Moving the motion, Madaki said that the plan by Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) to increase electricity tariff from N24 to N50 per kilowatt for residential consumers was not in the interest of Nigerians.
He expressed worry that erratic power supply by the distribution companies had persisted and affected households and commercial activities across the country.
He pointed out that the planned new tariff would amount to a disobedience of an order of the Federal High Court, Lagos, restraining the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) from any increase in electricity tariff.
“I recall that in February, 2016, NERC increased electricity tariff by 45 per cent with no corresponding impact on supply; rather, electricity supply has dropped, affecting both households and commercial activities.
“The planned 100 per cent increase in electricity tariff by NERC on the request of distribution companies is illegal and an abuse of court process.
“If the proposed hike in electricity tariff is not put on halt, its multiplier effect on the economy and the social wellbeing of Nigerians cannot be quantified,’’ Madaki said.
In his contribution, Majority Leader of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos), said that there was the need to review the sale of Discos to private individuals.
Gbajabiamila said that the companies lacked financial and infrastructural capacity to deliver quality services to Nigerians.
“The issue of Discos is the biggest scam; people are paying huge money and Discos are smiling to the banks without commensurate services.
“In other countries, they do not privatise a large life-wire of their economies.
“It is as if somebody powerful somewhere is protecting the Discos; so this house must remain resolute in finding out why the companies disobey resolutions and court orders,’’ he said.
In his ruling, Speaker of the house, Mr Yakubu Dogara, referred the matter to an ad hoc committee to investigate the sale of power assets.
The committee was also mandated to investigate the rationale behind the last increase in electricity tariff by the Discos.