BREAKING: Nigerian senate asks Tinubu’s government to stop plan to remove subsidy on electricity

The Senate has passed a resolution urging the federal government to maintain the electricity subsidy in light of the prevailing hardship in the country.

The lawmakers also kicked against the plans by the Ministry of Power to increase the electricity tariff.

The Senate’s stance on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, emerged following a thorough deliberation and subsequent endorsement of a motion during its plenary session, emphasizing the imperative of maintaining the electricity subsidy in Nigeria for the foreseeable future.

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The motion found its origin in the advocacy of Senator Aminu Iya Abbas (PDP), who represents the Adamawa Central zone. It underscored the significance of retaining the subsidy on electricity as a crucial measure for alleviating the burdens faced by the populace.

Last week, the Federal Government announced the formidable challenges in sustaining the electricity subsidy. Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, conveyed this message in Abuja, highlighting the pressing need for the country to transition towards a more economically sustainable tariff framework.

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He explained that the indebtedness of the country’s power sector to electricity-generating companies and gas companies had risen to over N3 trillion.

He said, “Today, we owe a total of N1.3tn to the power generating companies, out of which 60 per cent is owed to gas suppliers. Today we have a legacy debt, before 2014, to the gas companies of $1.3bn; at today’s rate, that is close to N2 trillion.”

In the wake of these developments, the Senate resolved to call for prudence and caution, urging careful consideration of the socioeconomic ramifications before any decision regarding the removal of the electricity subsidy is made.

Furthermore, the Senate agreed to probe a failed agreement that would have seen local manufacturers produce Prepaid Meters that would have been distributed across the nation to better electricity usage.

Also to be investigated is the two-trillion naira subsidy which the Minister of Power says would be required to avoid a repeat of the fuel subsidy scenario still bedeviling the nation’s economy.

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Following the resolves, the committee on power was mandated to equally investigate the 1.3 trillion naira owed by the ministry to generating companies and 1.3 billion dollars owed to gas companies.

The lawmakers agreed that the Federal Government should engage the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to come up with lasting solution to the energy billing system in the country.

They also resolved to investigate the operations of DISCOs to ascertain the current status of metering and their extent of compliance with relevant legal and regulatory frameworks in service delivery as well as the release of funds by the government for mass pre-paid metering.

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