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Senate Summons Power Minister Over New Electricity Tariffs | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

Apr 23, 2024

 

The Senate Committee on Power has invited the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, and the heads of agencies under the ministry to an investigative hearing on the new electricity tariffs.

Adelabu said that the importance of power to economic growth and industrial development of any nation cannot be overemphasized as no sector can perform optimally without a stable, effective, functional and cost-effective power supply.

The minister stated this when he received the Senate Committee on Power led by its Chairman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who visited the Ministry for its familiarization/oversight function recently in the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

The minister said the crises bedevilling the power sector have defied every attempt to find a resolution in the past sixty (60) years, but added that Bola Tinubu’s administration “is committed to breaking the 60-year crisis jinx”.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, stated that Sections 80 and 81 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have enjoined the committee to have a look at what the different organs of the government are doing.

“So, we are here on the familiarisation and oversight visit to the Ministry of Power,” he said.

He noted that the committee pursuant to the resolution of the National Assembly has also invited the minister and heads of its agencies to an investigative hearing on the recent electricity tariffs on April 29, 2024.

In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alh. Mahmuda Mamman attributed the visit as very important as the power sector presently is undergoing some challenges that need the understanding of the Senate Committee on Power to deliver on its mandate.

Adelabu said, “The steps we are taking in the Ministry of Power are in the right direction, it is only a little time; this crisis will be over.

“We just need to endure and persevere just as in the issue of road repairs and reconstruction, commuters suffer during such period, some even sleep on the road due to road closures or diversions but in the end, commuters enjoy smooth and timely rides to their destination when the work is done.

“This is the case in power. The issues have been identified and we need more patience and perseverance to get to our El Dorado.”

A statement issued by the Director of Information & Public Relations in the ministry, Dibiaezue-Eke Florence, added that while sharing the overview of the general activities of the ministry, Adebayo identified liquidity, huge metering gap, high incidence of electricity theft, power equipment vandalism, funding and operational structure, incessant grid collapse as the challenges bedevilling the sector.

The statement noted that in proffering sustainable solutions, a new tariff regime came on board and has drastically attracted the interest of investors in the sector.

It also noted that distribution companies are devoted to “investing more in upgrading their infrastructure to migrate more consumers to Band A, who now enjoy more than 20 hours of electricity supply”.

He revealed further that another step taken by the ministry was the granting of licenses to Renewable Energy Service Companies (RESCOS) to expand every access in rural communities through the establishment of mini and microgrids.

He further added that the installation of solar PVs in rural areas will reduce the burden on the national grid.

He said, “On closing the metering gap, Mr. President inaugurated the Presidential Metering Initiative Committee which I am the chairman, with a distinct directive to close the metering gap, hence, the vision is to meter at least two million customers yearly for the next 4 years.

“We sincerely believe that by closing the metering gap, liquidity in the sector would also be enhanced, thereby eradicating estimated billings by distribution companies.

“The state governments have also been encouraged to key into the 2023 Electricity Act which has recognised the advantaged position of the state in the provision of electricity across the country.”

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