FROM ISAAC ANUMIHE, ABUJA
The Federal Government yesterday announced a new tariff structure for electricity in Nigeria with effect from today. The new tariff will make Nigerians pay more for power consumption.
The Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Mr. Sam Amadi, made the announcement in Abuja when he signed a N213 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with chief executives of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The increase is coming amidst complaints of poor power supply by distribution companies despite the privatisation of the PHCN successor firms.
But Amadi said the intervention will help boost gas and power supply in the country.
He said the new tariff will not affect the residential consumers until after six months when there would have been an improvement in supply situation.
Amadi who did not announce the percentage increase, however, assured that the tariff will not be increased to the point that ordinary consumers will not be able to pay.
“While we ensure that the tariff is cost reflective, it will not constitute a burden on consumers immediately. For the avoidance of doubt, there will be no increase for residential consumers for at least six months until we begin to see improvement. We expect that with more gas coming to the power plants because of these facilities and other interventions, in the next two, three months, there will be increase in capacity.
There will be more reliability and the metering plan that is ongoing, we will be able to ensure that consumers will be much more comfortable. NERC will ensure that we will approve the tariff by tomorrow (today) which is already well known to the CBN and the transaction advisers as well as the participants from the deposit money banks. That tariff is guaranteed. It is going to come into effect by tomorrow,” he assured.
Speaking in the same vein, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, recalled that in a recent meeting in Lagos, the issue of tariff was critically considered and it was decided that it will not weigh down the pockets of Nigerians because there are laid down standards to that effect.
“Now, the issue of the tariff is something we also looked at. I want to assure every Nigerian that there will not be any review of the tariff that will unduly affect Nigerians to the point they won’t be able to pay. The tariffs are being looked at as well for it to be commercially viable. I am very much optimistic that by the time the tariff eventually comes out it will not be too high. There are standards that have been agreed at what point tariffs will be reviewed.
That is already stated in the NERC structure. So, what we are doing here today is to say, yes, we are now at the point where the Nigerian DMB as well as CBN are now ready to work together to disburse to clear the legacy debts. As we clear these debts, the entire chain becomes clear, the business becomes commercially viable for existing investors to continue to do their business and for new investors who are interested to come into this business and then boost our power and gas sectors in Nigeria,” he noted.
About 23 banks will be involved in this transaction but about 14 of them signed the MoU yesterday. Also present are the Minister of Power, the CBN as well as the Chairman of NERC signed a formal agreement between the parties.
Source : SunOnline