Poor generation, distribution led to closure of industries – House of Reps

*Nigeria's House of Representatives.

*Nigeria’s House of Representatives.

*Calls for regulation, licencing of illegal refineries

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

09 October 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The House of Representatives has urged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to stop the distribution companies from any upward review of electricity tariff.

It also called for the immediate provision and installation of pre-paid meters to consumers nationwide.

The resolution of the House followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Solomon Maren who noted that power generation and distribution in Nigeria remains in comatose and has led to the closure of several industries and hampered the development of small and medium scale enterprises.

He recalled that the House already resolved against collection of maintenance fees by the distribution companies, a resolution which NERC has since enforced.
Maren however noted that the companies are trying to devise other means to collect the fees, under other guises.

“These Distribution companies took over the distribution of electricity from PHCN close to two years now, what have they added to the sector that warrants increase in tariff? In many parts of the world, electricity tariffs are reducing due to falling oil prices as much of electricity is generated by gas which is a component of crude,” Maren added.

The House resolved to mandate NERC and the Discos to appear before it and brief on the issue.
Meanwhile, a bill for an Act to provide for the licensing, regulation and incentives to petroleum refineries in Nigeria and for other matters connected, passed second reading.

The bill, sponsored by Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta,was referred to the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) when constituted.
Hon. Nicholas Garba Shehu called for subsidy to be introduced at the point of production.

“Refined products have remained under price control, once prices are not regulated, anyone can raise funds for a refinery. The issue of subsidy removal or having it at the point of production is important,” he said.

In his contribution, the minority leader, Hon. Leo Ogor noted that the bill can set the pace in the petroleum industry to harness its potentials for massive employment among young Nigerians.
Hon. Emma Oghene Egoh urged the government to set up a committee to look into the quality of fuel being produced by illegal refineries, and if found up to standard, regulate their activities.

“The illegal refineries are thriving because of the gap between demand and supply,” he said, adding that if the illegal refineries registered and their activities are regulated, they will pay tax to the government.

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