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NASS, NERC to partner on legal framework for power sector investment protection

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The National Assembly (NASS)  is making moves to partner with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for a legal framework that will protect investment in the power sector.

  Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswan, stated this in Abuja on yesterday while leading members of the committee on an oversight visit to NERC Headquarters.

  According to Suswan, what has been in place was a Reform Sector Act put together by NASS in 2005 to enable government privatise the electricity entity.

“We have gone beyond privatisation, there has to be an Electricity Act for the country that will touch on the issue of energy theft, how people will be sanctioned and those that bypass meters.” He stated.

Continuing, “this will also create that environment that gives potential investors assurance that their investments are protected.

“Beyond the Reform Act, issues have cropped up that needed to be addressed, so we need a legal framework that will put in place enabling environment for potential investors to have a sense of protection and NERC is supporting us on this project,” he said.

The Senate Committee Chairman on Power appealed to NERC to halt the implementation of the hike in tariff, saying that NASS was not opposed to the proposed increase in electricity tariff, but the timing of the exercise.

He added that it was better that federal government took the burden of the hike instead of Nigerians within the period, as the sector awaited the activation of the service reflective tariff.

“Within this period, you could have taken some major decisions on the issue of metering which is very central. We at NASS are all informed of the challenges in the sector.

“So, we say tarry a while to allow Nigerians recover from COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to appeal to you and give you all support so that we will not be solving one problem and creating a political problem.

Susan, while commending NERC on the good job it was doing, said that the visit was for the committee to have a firsthand information on the challenges faced by the regulator.

He said there was need to provide a conducive working environment for the commission to make them perform better in the regulatory function assigned to them.

Earlier the Chairman of NERC, James Momoh, said there was need to review the Electricity Act and Policy of government to make things work.

Momoh said that a mechanism had been put in place to absorb the masses of the adverse impacts of the electricity hike.

“It is not going to affect the poor. We will make sure that the downtrodden and the people you feel for at the moment will not be affected by any increase we will be bringing forth.

According to the NERC boss, tariffs will be based on hours of service and quality of power available.

“In other words, we must make sure that the poor are not sacrificed in the process of tariff increase,” he said.

He assured that they do not intend to make the poor subsidise payment for the rich with their proposed tariff increment plans.

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