OrderPaperToday – The proposed hike in electricity tariffs has been deferred following an intervention by the leadership of the National Assembly.

The hike which was expected to take place from 1st of July 2020 has now been postponed till the first quarter of 2021.

This decision followed a meeting between the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and other principal Officers of the two chambers at the National Assembly with the Chief Executives of the government electricity regulatory body and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) across the country.

Also in attendance were the Chairmen of the Committees on Power from the Senate and House of Representatives.

In a Press statement released by the Lawan’s Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi on Monday, it noted that National Assembly leaders were emphatic at the meeting that the timing of the planned hike was wrong “even though they had not much issue with the need to introduce a cost reflective tariffs for the power sector to attract the much needed investment.

“In the course of the meeting, the DISCOs too admitted that they were not well prepared for the planned hike in tariffs even though they so much desired the increase.”

Also, the leadership of the National Assembly promised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue.

At the end of the meeting, Lawan said: “The agreement here is that there is not going to be any increase in the tariffs on July 1st. 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.”

According to the statement, Lawan said the government has been doing a lot as part of its obligations to provide some form of Intervention.

“I’m quite aware that for this year, probably starting from last year, over N600 billion was earmarked for this sector to improve.

“The potential increase in the tariffs is definitely something that will be of concern to us in 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,” he said.

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