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Ex-Federal Lawmakers Fault Electricity Tariff Hike

 

Two former federal lawmakers, Senator Andrew Uchendu and Hon. Dachung Bagos, have faulted the Federal Government’s reduction of electricity subsidy.

They argued that the timing was wrong.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had on Wednesday, announced an increment in electricity tariff for Band A customers. It explained that these are people who enjoy a 20-hour supply of electricity daily.

But the ex-lawmakers who were guests on a national television on Thursday, said with the removal of subsidy on petroleum, the timing of the electricity tariff hike would further compound Nigerians’ hardship.

“I have always held this view that any right decision taken at the wrong time will ultimately be wrong,” Senator Uchendu, who represented Rivers East in the National Assembly, said.

“Nigerians have had a fairly bad deal in recent times. It was important that fuel subsidy be removed, and it was removed. Some of us did argue that possibly adequate preparations were not made in anticipation of the obvious implications of subsidy removal.

“And so that very policy decision is biting hard on every Nigerian. To now come back six months down the line to talk about another subsidy removal whether Band A, Band B, or any Band will ordinarily irritate Nigerians.

“It is coming at the wrong time. We would have allowed the negative effect of the fuel subsidy removal to be properly controlled before introducing any other subsidy.”

Bagos also shared similar sentiments with Senator Uchendu. The ex-lawmaker, who represented Jos South and East Federal Constituency, questioned the timing of the electricity tariff hike. He believes there is a lack of planning in the decision.

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“I quite agree with the distinguished Senator. Not just that the time is wrong but even the planning is wrong. Why we supported the fuel subsidy removal is because the monies for fuel subsidy was only enriching a few,” Bagos said.

“And inasmuch as there is a removal, there was no proper planning to cushion the effects [of subsidy removal] on Nigerians. Now you are having the electricity subsidy removed. What are those plans that the Federal Government has put in place to cushion the effect on Nigerians?”

The former House of Representatives member also argued that subsidy is not entirely bad, saying that governments across the world subsidise things for their citizens.

“And one thing we need to understand is, there is no government in the world that does not pay subsidy on something to cushion effects on its citizenry.

“The US or UK we are copying, all of them have subsidies on certain sectors of the economy that will cushion effects on their own citizens,” he said.

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