Thursday, 17 December 2015

Reps ask NERC to stop planned electricity tariff increase

The House of Representatives has asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to immediately halt its plans to increase electricity tariff, pending the conclusion of the investigations into the operations of the commission and electricity distribution companies.

Its ad hoc committee investigating the Discos had expressed surprise on Wednesday that NERC could allow the plans to go on in spite of previous directives of the House halting the plans.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Babajimi Benson, recalled that on Tuesday, December 15, it wrote NERC another reminder only for the commission to allow the announcements and publications in major newspapers on the tariff hike to go on.
Benson quoted parts of the letter, saying, “In paragraph 3 (three) of our letter, dated October 29, 2015, under the same subject heading, we requested you to suspend the implementation of any increase in electricity tariff until the committee concludes its investigations.
“Further recall that at the joint investigative hearing with the Committee on Power, it was agreed that any tariff increase should be suspended until all stakeholders are carried along.
“Our attention has been drawn to various news items published in many newspapers to the effect that your commission has concluded plans to announce the new electricity tariff to Nigerians this week.
“It is our opinion that any plan by your commission to announce new electricity tariff will run contrary to the spirit of the letter under reference and undermines the outcome of the investigative hearing by this committee as it relates to infrastructure and billing by Discos.”
The committee again directed NERC to “suspend the announcement and/or implementation of any increase in electricity tariff until above stated issues are concluded.”
Also, on Wednesday, the House also called for information from the Central Bank of Nigeria on the interests accruable to the country’s foreign bank accounts in the last four years.
It asked the apex bank to provide information on the criteria for selecting managers of foreign reserve accounts of the federation “to ensure transparency and to report annually on the performance and continued compliance of the managers with any set guidelines issued by the CBN.”
The House Committee on Finance was directed to conduct a full investigation into the matter and produce a report.
Mr. Abdussamad Dasuki, who moved a motion to draw the attention of his colleagues to the issue, observed that there was no evidence that the apex bank “monetised into the naira”, the interests accruable from such accounts to be utilised by the federation.
The House is concerned that accruals to the federation from foreign reserve accounts have not been openly declared by the CBN and remain indiscernible in public records.
Some states have persistently agitated for discontinuance of the ‘agreement’ allowing the
Federation Accounts Allocation Committee to decide savings or reserves from disbursable funds to the components of the federation.
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