Following the rejection of the 45% increase in electricity tariff by Nigerians, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, on Monday begged for cooperation. He was said to have said this during the Second Monthly Meeting of the Power Sector Operators in furtherance of his determination to find practical solutions to issues affecting the nation’s electricity industry. He also appealed to the organized labour and consumers for understanding over the new Multi-Year Tariff Order which came into effect on February 1.
The meeting which held at the Alagbon Transmission and Distribution Complex in Ikoyi, Lagos had in attendance representatives of all the Power Generation Companies (Gencos) , Distribution Companies (Discos) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), as well as various government agencies such as the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) responsible for the regulation and development of the electricity industry.
The oil and gas industry was also represented at the meeting by senior executives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Gas Aggregating Company of Nigeria (GACN) and the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC).
Mr Fashola also said that although the decision to increase tariff was a hard one, without proper pricing of Power, the whole system would collapse after sometime. The Minister, who likened the decision to a case of quinine and Malaria, added “It is a hard decision, but we appeal to all for understanding because we are doing it in the interest of all the people. We do not have many choices but we promise that it will get better.”
Giving assurance that the problem in the Power Sector could be solved with the right tool, Fashola declared, “I know that the people who have been disappointed over a long time will feel a sense of concern that tariff has gone up but the truth is that the government of yesterday lacked the courage to tell the people the true situation.
“This is why you had review of tariff every two years which presupposed that tariff would increase every two years. But we have done a 10-year tariff and if you look at the tariff closely you will see that about two years from now we will begin to go down a sliding scale and whatever price the tariff offers.”
Mr Fashola appealed to the media to help in enlightening the populace on the essentials of power production and distribution adding, “Everybody must know how power is produced and distributed.”