Respite has come the way of Nigerians over the planned 100 per cent hike in electricity tariff.
1st News can report that the Federal Government and the leadership of the National Assembly have reached an agreement to suspend the planned electricity tariff hike. Equally important, the hike expected to take effect from today, Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
Meanwhile, 1st News can confirm that the agreement came after a crucial meeting on Tuesday. The meeting, which involved Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; was held with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Consequently, the electricity tariff hike has now been suspended until the first quarter of 2021.
The development comes also after the leadership of the National Assembly succeeded in convincing the Distribution Companies (DISCOs); to suspend the increase on Monday.
In a chat with State House correspondents after the meeting with the Presidency; Speaker of the House, Gbajabiamila echoed the general sentiment on the timing of the planed electricity tariff increase. Further, he disclosed that although the parties involved understood the complaints of the DisCos; he noted that it was essential to ensure that everyone was on the same page before implementation.
“Let me just say that we saw the President earlier this morning (Tuesday)…We have seen the Vice President today. The whole idea is that when there is a major policy decision; it is always good that the legislature and the executive are on the same page. So that we don’t sing different tunes.
“I will like to say that I think we have all agreed on an increase in cost-reflective tariff. But the issue is that the timing is also important. Sometimes, timing is more important than even the policy decision that you make.
”There is a saying that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. So, the intention is good but what about the timing. We have all agreed to suspend this for a while, tarry a while and get the buy-in of the people; explain to the people why this has to be done.
“I think so far so good, the President listened attentively. The Vice President listened attentively and I think everybody is on the same page…Hopefully, we will get some reprieve between now and whenever. But it’s not going to happen today,’’ Gbajabiamila assured.
On his part, the Senate President, Lawan who spoke earlier, also toed the same path as Gbajabiamila.
“The joint leadership of the National Assembly sat on Monday with DISCOs and Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). We believe that this is not the right time to increase the tariff in the electricity sector.
”Nigerians have a lot of challenges today because of the COVID-19 pandemic…The situation requires that we do everything possible to make life easy for our citizens,” he stated.