‎Senate backs funding for Rural Electrification projects

*Nigerian Senate.

*Nigerian Senate.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

21 October 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Senate has given strong backing to efforts to improve rural electrification even as it has vowed to ensure funds are released for execution of rural electrification projects.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who stated this when he hosted officials of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in his office, noted that a resolution would soon be taken to enhance the release of pending funds to the Rural Electrification Agency, REA.

Saraki also called for sanction to be meted on those found to be violating the terms of their license, this was even as he stated that the relationship between the Commission and its operators was to agree that they will be allowed to recover prudent profit.

“Section 76(2) provides for the Commission to adopt appropriate tariff methodology within the general principles established in the Act, which allows recovery of efficient cost including a reasonable rate of return, gives incentives to improve efficiency and quality and sends efficient signals to customers on costs they impose on the system,” he stated.

While briefing the Senate President and members of the Senate Committee on Power on the performance of the power industry in the light of the electricity reform, NERC’s Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi urged the Senate President to use his good office to initiate the resolution that would enhance the release of funds to the REA, pointing out that the law demands Senate’s authorisation.

“The law demands that at the end of each fiscal year, money not expended by us is put in a special account for the sole use of the agency. The money is there, the Senate has not given the resolution authorising us to transfer the fund to the REA,” Amadi said.

The NERC boss assured that the Commission was committed to its mandate of ensuring fair pricing and affordable tariff for consumers, making sure they are protected, in response to one of the questions by the Senate President on how the Commission is able to tackle what he described as ‘impunity’ of some licensees that have failed to live up to their responsibilities of meeting their license terms and conditions.

Meanwhile, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has inaugurated a 9-man committee on how to make electricity available to the real sector.

MAN’s President, Dr. Frank Jacob, who read the terms of refer­ence to the committee, noted that electricity challenge to industries can be surmounted if a legal framework can be provided to help the association reduce cost of production.

He urged the committee to complete its assignment within a week so as to fast track further processing of engagement with the Federal Government.

About the Author