“We have concluded plans to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss on the possible review of the price of fuel and that of electricity. But I’ll reserve my comments to the outcome of the meeting,” Governor Abubakar said.
The Federal Government has increased the pump price of petrol to N151.56 although most filling stations are currently selling at N160 and above.
This has caused uproar in Jigawa and other parts of the country.
Earlier in the day, students and civil society groups embarked on a peaceful protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The students under the umbrella of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), condemned the recent increases, stating that it is not in the best interest of Nigerians.
Armed with placards carrying various inscriptions expressing their frustration at the increment, the protesters urged the Federal Government to revert the policies in the best interest of the country.
The protesters marched through Bodija and environs and ended the procession at the Federal Secretariat, where they addressed the press on the reason behind their agitation.
“We say no to fuel hike, we say no to increment in electricity tariff and other increments that affect Nigerian students and the masses.
“We have over 200 polytechnic campuses in Nigeria that are at home and angry that schools are closed,” a representative of polytechnic students, Olalere Opatunji, told Channels Television.
The leadership of the National Assembly has convinced the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in the country to defer the hike in electricity tariffs scheduled to take effect from July 1, 2020.
This is according to a statement on Monday by the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media, Ola Awoniyi.
He revealed that the lawmakers met with the Chief Executives of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the DISCOs and succeeded in persuading them to postpone the planned increase of tariffs until the first quarter of 2021.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, as well as other principal officers and chairmen of the Committees on Power of the two chambers, attended the meeting.
Awoniyi said the National Assembly leaders were emphatic that the timing of the planned hike was wrong, although they do not have issues with the need to introduce cost-reflective tariffs for the power sector to attract the much-needed investment.
He added that the DISCOs, on their part, admitted that they were not well prepared for the planned hike in tariffs despite the so much desire for the increase.
The Wrong Time
The meeting, according to the Senate President’s aide, agreed to defer the planned hike until the first quarter of next year while the leadership of the National Assembly promised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue.
“The agreement here is that there is not going to be any increase in the tariffs on July 1st,” Lawan was quoted as saying at the end of the meeting.
He added, “The Speaker and I; we are going to take appropriate action and meet with the President. We are in agreement here that there is no question on the justification of the increase, but the time is simply not right and appropriate measures need to be put in place
“So, between now and the first quarter of next year, our task will be to work together with you to ensure that we put those blocks in place to support the eventual increase in tariffs.”
The Senate President stated that the Federal Government has been doing a lot as part of its obligations to provide some form of intervention.
He noted that over N600 billion was earmarked to improve the power sector, stressing that the potential increase in the tariffs would be of concern to the National Assembly.
“There is too much stress in the lives of Nigerians today, and indeed, across the world because of the challenges imposed by COVID-19 pandemic and even before then, we had issues that would always make it tough for our people to effectively pay the tariffs.
“One way or the other, for this business to flourish, for this sector to be appropriately fixed, for it to attract investment; something has to give way, there is no doubt about that but it is also crucial that we look at the timing for any of our actions,” the lawmaker pleaded.
Do The Right Thing
In his remarks, Gbajabiamila said the National Assembly was on the same page with the DISCOs on the issue of cost-reflective tariffs.
He, however, stated that there was time for everything, and a well-intended programme or policy of government could fall flat on the face and never recover if such was implemented at the wrong time.
“There cannot be a time as bad as this for us to increase anything. Forget about electricity, anything. Whereas, even in time of decreasing revenue, we are even reducing the pump price. I don’t know how we can justify an increase in the cost of electricity at this time in Nigeria,” the Speaker said.
He asked the DISCOs and NERC how they arrived at the tariffs, the role of the National Assembly, and if the President was aware of their decision.
Gbajabiamila added, “Whatever will affect his (Buhari’s) government is something that should concern all of us. I think this will affect his government.
“This timing, not the increase; the timing. I think it will affect his government and if it is going to affect his government, we should all rally around our people, our President, and the government to make sure we do the right thing.”
On their part, the DISCOs representatives told the lawmakers that if the planned hike was eventually deferred till next year, the government should continue to bear the difference in the present tariff and what was considered as the appropriate tariff.
Those in attendance included representatives of NERC, Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, and Eko Electricity Distribution Company.
The Speaker of the House of Representative, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has asked the Federal Government to waive electricity tariffs for two months.
Speaking during a meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly and the Executive on Wednesday in Abuja, Gbajabiamila emphasised the need for an all-inclusive relief package for Nigerians arising from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
He noted that the most effective means of alleviating the financial burden of the stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the virus is for the Federal Government to give a 100 per cent waiver on the electricity consumed by every household in the country.
Members of the executive include the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; the Minister of State on Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emiefiele; the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari and others on the update of the COVID-19 interventions.
“I’m looking forward to a robust package, that will include succour to the Nigerian people, that is the issue of electricity, just for two months,” Gbajabiamila was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi.
“I had this argument with somebody the other day and he failed to see something until I pointed it out to him that if an average man, and for argument sake, pays N10,000 for electricity in a month, and you tell him that government will subsidize your electricity 100%, that we have the guarantees and undertakings by the DisCos and GenCos that your electricity supply will not flicker for a moment for two months. Do you know what you’ve done invariably? You’ve loosened that N10,000, you freed up that N10,000 for him to do other things with.
“In other words, the government has given him N10,000, which we all know what people are asking for right now. By saving him the N10,000 on his electricity bill, the government has given him N10,000,” the statement read in part.
According to the Speaker, the Ghanaian government has done that to make life more bearable for the citizens as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gbajabiamila also called for a more robust relationship between the National Executive and the Federal Government for the overall interest of Nigerians.
In response to this, the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed informed the lawmakers that the Ministry is set to present a revised 2020 national budget as well as the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)/ Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
She said, “As we move to adjust the Budget and implement the N500b stimulus package, the President has set up a committee chaired by the Vice President which will be meeting today at 2:00 pm.
“The feedback we get from that meeting would be conveyed to the relevant bodies as we design the various programs which will include the upgrade of healthcare facilities, support to States, Public Works and other interventions that we are working on at this time,”.
A series of documents dated December 31, 2019 indicate an increase that ranges from 59.7 per cent to 77.6 per cent.
The increase affects all categories of electricity consumers, except those classified as residential (R1) whose N4 per kWh charge was left unchanged.
According to the documents jointly signed by Professor Momoh and the Commissioner for Legal, License, and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, the NERC said the reviewed tariffs were effective January 1, 2020.
The development affects the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in the country such as Abuja DISCO, Benin DISCO, Enugu DISCO, and Eko DISCO.
Others are Ibadan DISCO, Ikeja DISCO, Jos DISCO, Kaduna DISCO, Kano DISCO, Port Harcourt DISCO, and Yola DISCO.
This sparked widespread criticism of the government, apparently forcing the NERC to make further clarification on the controversy.
At Monday’s press conference, Professor Momoh explained that the review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) does not mean an immediate increase in tariff for electricity consumers.
He added that the commission would engage the public on the planned review in the next three months, before deciding on any implementation.
The NERC boss also said the electricity body would begin the regulation of estimated billing by electricity distribution companies who fail to provide meters for their customers.
In a bid to further explain the rationale behind its decision, the regulatory body issued a statement.
Read the statement below:
TARIFF REVIEW CLARIFICATION.
We make this statement to inform all our esteemed customers that we are not unmindful of news making the rounds that Electricity tariffs have been increased effective January 1 2020 as reported in some print and electronic media.
For clarity and improved understanding, we state the following points:
The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) is primarily regulated by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
NERC is empowered by the EPSR Act (EPSRA) to make Orders and Declarations in a manner promoting efficiency and sustainability within the NESI.
NERC is empowered by EPSRA to carry out minor reviews of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2015 (the Electricity Tariff), twice a year.
An accurate electricity tariff assists greatly in ensuring efficient power supply delivery from the different stages of the electricity process, from Generation through Transmission to Distribution, as it assures stakeholders and participants of their costs recovery and return on investment. This makes the business viable.
NERC has just reviewed the MYTO 2015 and has published an Order on Tariffs and Minimum Remittance for Jan-June 2020.
The tariffs anticipate changes in the currency exchange rates between the United States and Nigeria, changes in the rate of inflation and Gas prices.
The Tariffs shall remain the same as they presently are (i.e. 2015 levels) until April 01 2020 when there will be a slight increment to cater to tariff shortfalls which shall be gradually passed on to the consumer until this is fully completed by the end of 2021.
In view of the foregoing, we state emphatically that there shall be no change or increase in the existing Electricity tariff until April 01 2020 when the new adjusted tariffs shall begin to gradually reflect the dynamism of our macro-economy.
We sincerely hope that this statement substantially clarifies the accurate position and allays any fears and concerns, our esteemed customers may have.
The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has approved the immediate review of electricity tariffs across the country.
NERC announced this in a series of documents obtained by Channels Television on Saturday.
The documents dated December 31, 2019, were jointly signed by the NERC Chairman, Joseph Momoh, as well as the Commissioner for Legal, License, and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye.
A review of the new amount to be paid by various categories of electricity consumers indicates an increase that ranges from 59.7 per cent to 77.6 per cent.
Consumers classified as residential (R1) were, however, excluded from the review as the N4 per kWh they pay was left unchanged.
The development affected the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) spread across the country such as Abuja DISCO, Benin DISCO, Enugu DISCO, and Eko DISCO.
Others are Ibadan DISCO, Ikeja DISCO, Jos DISCO, Kaduna DISCO, Kano DISCO, Port Harcourt DISCO, and Yola DISCO.
According to the latest order, the new amount to pay varies among categories of electricity consumers such as residential, commercial, industrial, special, and lighting.
A majority of Nigerians fall in the category of residential consumers who are those using singe phase and three-phase meters, as well as electricity consumption of about 50 kWh in premises with flats exclusively for residential purposes.
Those categorised under commercial are consumers who use premises for any purpose other than exclusively as residence or as a factory for manufacturing goods, while the industrial consumers are those who use their premises for manufacturing goods, including welding and ironmonger.
Similarly, those involved in agriculture other than agro-allied enterprises involved in processing, water boards, and religious houses, among others are categorised as special electricity consumers.
NERC explained that the new order was based on the actual changes in macroeconomic variables in generation capacity as at October 31, 2019.
It added that the order was based on the exchange rates of N306.9 plus one per cent premium which is about N309.97 to the dollar and gas price of $2.50 per million metric tons BTU and gas transportation cost of $0.80 per MMBTU.
See the breakdown of the reviewed amount to be paid by various categories of consumers in their respective states below: