The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Sen. Gabriel Suswam while addressing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja said that the Senate has asked the Federal Government to subsidize electricity for Nigerians in an attempt to palliate the proposed hike in electricity tariff which had been moved to next year.
The leadership of the national assembly have been reported to have had a controversial view about the planned electricity hike from July 1, according to NAN on Monday.
They are not alone on this suggestion, as the representatives of the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) also made it known that they concur with the suspension of the proposed hike but only if the government would bear the differences in the present tariff and what was considered as the appropriate tariff.
Suswam in his address to the newsmen said,
“Nowhere in the world that power is not subsidized especially in developing economies because there are genuine people, who because of their income, are unable to pay what is called a cost-reflective tariff.
“Nigerians are heavily burdened because of COVID-19. The economy has contracted by 3.2 percent; that’s a lot.
“So it makes it difficult for you and me to attend to some of our social problems, would 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”
He suggested that even if the subsidy was to be removed from the power sector, the power sector should be made more efficient just like it was done in the oil sector before the subsidy was 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,” He added.
He said he was looking forward to the executives agreeing to subsidize electricity even though it was going to be costly.