The House of Representatives, yesterday, rejected plans by the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to increase electricity tariff in the country.
It also resolved to set up an adhoc committee to determine the legality of the Excess Crude Account and also investigate the status and management of all the principal sums deposited in the account.
Following the adoption of a motion by Aliyu Sani Madaki (NNPP, Kano), the lawmakers called on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) not to approve any plan or request by the DISCOs to implement the plan.
The lawmakers described the plan to increase the tariff as insensitive, especially at a time when Nigerians are grappling with soaring food and petroleum prices.
Presenting the motion, Madaki said the DISCOS had alerted customers of a planned electricity tariff hike based on the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO).
He informed that customers with a prepaid metre would experience a comparatively high tariffs, whereas, for those on post-rand (estimated) billing, a significant increment is expected to be higher.
“The recent statement by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) directing its consumers to disregard the earlier notice of the increase in the electricity tariffs hike is confusing as members of the public are confused as to what to believe.
“The proposed increase is coming despite the inability of the operators to meet the threshold of supplying at least 5,000 megawatts per year after signing the contract with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)”.
The House adopted the motion and advised NERC not to approve any increase in electricity tariff in Nigeria.
It mandated the committee on power (when constituted) to interface with NERC to find a common ground and address the proposed hike in the interest of Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the federal lawmakers also set up a committee to investigate the tenor and interest rate of the Petroleum Profits Tax/Royalty and Excess Crude Account from 2015 to date.
The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion by Rep Esosa Iyawe (Edo, LP) moved at plenary.
Moving the motion, Iyawe informed the House that experts have raised concerns several times over ECA’s balances, which seem to change at will without any corresponding evidence of withdrawals or approvals of such withdrawals.
He said the 2015 Annual Report of the Auditor-General for the Federation showed that an interest of USD1,829,025.45 was deposited in the Excess Crude Account as interest on investments but there were no details as regards the principal sums deposited, the tenor and the interest rate.
He said ECA has been riddled with controversy, allegations of corruption, and uncertain performance, adding that the absence of rules governing deposits, withdrawals and investments led to the Natural Resource Governance Institute ranking Nigeria as the second-most poorly governed fund among 34 resource-rich nations.
Adopting the motion, the House urged the CBN to disclose without further delay, all the interests and principal sums on the investments in the Excess Crude Oil/Petroleum Profits Tax/Royalty Account to the Auditor-General of the Federation’s Office.