Senate suspends new electricity tariff

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THE Senate, yesterday, mandated Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to immediately stop further implementation of the new electricity tariff until the outcome of a public hearing that would be carried out by its relevant committees on the controversial electricity tariff issue. The order of the Senate followed a motion to suspend the implementation of the new tariff, sponsored by Senator Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi North), under Matters of National Importance. Nazif, who drew the Senate attention to the matter, opined that in view of the biting economic hardship, it was unrealistic to increase electricity tariff. The development came just as negotiations between the leadership of the Senate and the Federal Government over the new increment of electricity tariffs by 45 percent failed. The secret negotiation, which was at the instance of the Senate President, took place last Thursday at the National Assembly complex. It was gathered that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; his Labour and Productivity counterpart, Chris Ngige, and some principal officers of the Senate, were in attendance. Senator Nazif, in his motion, had prayed the Senate to wade into the controversial electricity tariff, saying the development, if allowed, could compound the present suffering of Nigerians. Supporting the motion, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said Nigerians were already on what he described as ’life support.’ He urged his colleagues to reject the new increment and stand with Nigerians. Ekweremadu said: “As Nigerians, we are now on life support. This increase is evil and we must ensure that we insist on the reversal. “There is already poverty and hardship. Any additional load on Nigerians means we do not want them to live. We must ensure that their welfare is protected.” Senate President’s directives Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, in his remark, mandated the Senate Committees on Labour and Power to meet with the relevant agencies of government and find a lasting solution. He further mandated the two committees to conduct public hearings on the matter, saying the outcome would determine what will happen.
Source:  http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/02/senate-suspends-new-electricity-tariff/

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