Electricity sector will collapse if we don’t increase tariff, says Adelabu

There will be a nationwide blackout in the next three months if the planned increase in electricity tariffs is not carried out, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu issued a dire warning on Monday.

The minister made this revelation in Abuja during an investigative hearing held by the Senate Committee on Power on the recent increase in energy rates implemented by the Nigerian Energy Regulatory Commission (NERC).

This came after the Senate Committee, chaired by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, rejected the proposed tariff regime.

According to Adelabu, “The entire sector will be grounded if we don’t increase the tariff. With what we have now in the next three months, the entire country will be in darkness if we don’t increase tariffs.

“The increment will catapult us to the next level. We are also Nigerians, we are also feeling the impact.”

He claimed that to revitalize the country’s electricity industry and address the issues plaguing it, $10 billion will be required annually for the next ten years.

“For this sector to be revived, the government needs to spend nothing less than 10 billion dollars annually in the next 10 years.

“This is because of the infrastructure requirement for the stability of the sector. But the government cannot afford that. And so we must make this sector attractive to investors and to lenders.

“So, for us to attract investors and investment, we must make the sector attractive, and the only way it can be made attractive is that there must be commercial pricing.

“If the value is still at N66 and the government is not paying subsidy, the investors will not come. But now that we have increased the tariff for A Band, there are interests being shown by investors,” he said.

According to Adelabu, the government’s inability to pay the unpaid N2.9 trillion subsidy was caused by a lack of resources, necessitating the development of new strategies to support the industry.

He pleaded with the legislators to back the procedure of repaying the debt due to operators throughout the production, transmission, and distribution value chains.

However, the Senate Committee on Power, asked the minister and stakeholders in the industry to consider other possibilities, voicing concerns over the suffering of Nigerians. Senators Simon Lalong (Plateau South) and Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central), said no consultations were conducted before the tariff rise as palliatives should have been offered during the process.

Abaribe, Chairman of the Committee said, “What Nigerians wanted was a solution to the issues and ways to ensure liquidity in the sector.”

Additionally, he bemoaned the disappearance of a business called “ZIGLAKS” concerning the failed deal to give Nigerians prepaid meters, claiming that the company had been paid N32 billion over 20 years to meter Nigerian power users.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (NAN), the Association of Power Generation (Gencos), and the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) were among the other parties present at the hearing.

Back to top button