Electricity tarrif hike must be fair, equitable, beneficial to all -Speaker Abbas

By Deborah Hassan 

365Daily – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, has advocated for adjustments in electricity tariffs should be fair, equitable and beneficial to all stakeholders.

He said this while declaring open a special public hearing on the increase in electricity tarrifs organised by the joint House Committees on Power, Commerce, National Planning and Delegated Legislation on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Abuja.

It will be recalled that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently hiked the tariff, a development which sparked widespread discontent and attracted strong opposition from different quarters of the country.

Represented by the deputy speaker, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, Speaker Abbas said the public hearing was to ultimately examine all issues of concern with a view to proffering solutions.

He said: “The fears expressed by many are valid – that such a sharp increase in electricity tariffs will only exacerbate the economic hardships already faced by our people. There are genuine concerns that higher utility bills resulting from this tariff hike could have a ripple effect on operational costs for businesses, potentially leading to increased prices for goods and services

“Electricity as we know, is not just a commodity; it is a lifeline for many households and businesses across our nation. Any significant rise in tariff could have far-reaching consequences for our economy and the livelihoods of our people. Therefore, it is essential that we carefully assess all factors before making any decisions that may affect the affordability and accessibility of electricity for our citizens. It is imperative that we engage in constructive dialogue to address these issues and ensure that any adjustments made are fair, transparent, and ultimately beneficial to all parties involved.

“It is in the light of the foregoing that the House convened this public hearing. As representatives of the Nigerian people, it is our duty to carefully consider the implications of such policies on our constituents’well-being and livelihoods.

“Our goal is to ensure that any adjustments made to electricity tariffs are fair, equitable, and ultimately beneficial to all stakeholders involved.

“We must strive to strike a balance that safeguards the interests of consumers while also enabling sustainable growth and development within the energy sector.”

Expressing the willingness of the House to continue to work with the executive arm of government, Speaker Abbas enjoined the stakeholders to make valuable submissions that will help the parliament to make an informed decision on the issue.

“I urge all stakeholders present here today to engage in constructive dialogue and provide valuable insights that will guide us in finding a balanced solution to this pressing issue. Let us work together towards ensuring that electricity remains affordable for all Nigerians while also aupporting the growth and stability of our energy sector. Let us use this public hearing as an opportunity to listen to all stakeholders,understand their perspectives, and work towards finding a sustainable and equitable resolution to this pressing issue.

“I want to emphasize our commitment to working closely with the executive to transform the Nigerian power sector into a model of efficiency and sustainability as outlined in our Legislative Agenda. We are dedicated to providing legislative support to the efforts of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s Administration in reforming the power sector by addressing all legal and legislative impediments accordingly”, he said.

Speaker Abbas, however, frowned at the failure of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to honour the invitation of the committees to make their respective presentations.

He urged them to submit their memoranda to the secretariat of the committees, saying that positive results can only be made when all the stakeholders come into a partnership.

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