The Senate, Tuesday stated why President Muhammadu Buhari-led government should subsidise electricity for Nigerians.
The electricity distribution companies of Nigeria had on Monday told the National Assembly leadership that the only condition to halt tariff hike was for the federal government to bear the difference between the current tariff and the proposed one.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the red chamber on the issue, the Chairman, Senate committee on power, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North East), and his counterpart in the media and public affairs, Dr. Ajibola Basiru (APC Osun Central), said increasing the tariff at this moment would be counter productive with attendant heavy burden on Nigerians.
The upper chamber said the best thing for the federal government to do now was to take the challenge of subsiding power by paying DisCos the balance of the current tariff and the proposed one.
Specifically, Senator Suswam said there was nowhere in the world where such gestures were not being extended by the citizenry.
“No where in the world that power is not subsidised especially in developing economies because there are genuine people, who, because of their income, are unable to pay what is called cost-reflective tariff.
“Nigerians are heavily burdened because of COVID-19. The economy has contracted by 3.2%, that’s a lot.
“So it makes you and me to attend to some of our social problems. So, does the government prefer to add burden or lessen it?
“The president has been doing well, he has spent so much money, and what we expect is that the spending will gradually reduce or diminish as the power sector becomes more efficient.
“There are two things, one is to make it more efficient and second, the government will back out just like they have done in the oil sector where subsidy has been completely removed.
“Even at that, the government is reducing the pump price. So, should they, in the same vein, increase tariff? It doesn’t make sense.
“I think the executive will agree, even though it’s going to come at a cost. But what cost is more than lessening the burden on the people?,” he said .