JUST IN: President Buhari breaks silence on new electricity tariff

President Muhammadu Buhari says it will be “grossly irresponsible” to borrow to subsidise electricity tariff amid the economic crunch caused by the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He spoke on Monday during his second-term First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat in Abuja. Buhari noted that under the new arrangement, only customers who get electricity for 12 hours and above per day would have their tariff increased.

“The recent service-based tariff adjustment by the discos has also been a source of concern to many of us. Let me say frankly like many Nigerians, I have been very unhappy with the service by many of the discos. But there are many constraints including poor transmission and distribution capacities. I’ve already signed off the first phase of the Siemens Project to address many of these issues.

“Because of the problems of the privatisation exercise, the government has had to keep supporting the largely privatised electricity industry. So far, to keep the industry going, we have spent close to N1.7trn especially by way of supplementing tariff shortfalls. We simply do not have the resources at this time to continue in this way. And it will be grossly irresponsible to borrow to subsidise generation and distribution which are both privatised.”

Buhari also stressed that “the timing of these two necessary adjustments” was coincidental, assuring Nigerians that the government was not insensitive to their plights and would continue to do all it can to make life better for the masses.

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