Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
House of Representatives has vowed to initiate a comprehensive review of all legislation relating to the power sector in Nigeria as part of plans to find solution to issues crippling electricity development in the country.
This legislative review, it said, would engage all stakeholders in the industry and take all necessary steps to guarantee that the views of business are considered in the process.
The green chamber made this known in its Legislative Agenda unveiled last week in Abuja, where it explained that a constant, cost-effective power supply is integral to the economic development of any nation.
It said Nigeria has not yet begun to generate or distribute sufficient power to meet present needs or provide for future demand.
The House noted that this paucity of power generation negatively affects productivity sectors from large industry to small and medium scale enterprises resulting in measurable adverse effects on economic productivity, industrial sustainability and general prices of goods and services.
The legislature stressed that getting things right with electricity generation, transmission and distribution would drastically improve the country’s economic outlook and it’s essential to put the country on the path of sustained economic development.
“Our concern as a House is to address the sub-structural issues, militating against improved performance in the sector despite the huge sums of money expended by the government.
“The House will revisit in holistic manner laws, policies and investments including the roles of the Power Distribution Companies (DisCos) and Power Generating Companies (GenCos).”
As part of its legislative action and policy reform, it said, “this House will initiate a comprehensive review of all legislation relating to the power sector in Nigeria. This legislative review will engage all stakeholders in the industry and take all necessary steps to guarantee that the views of business are considered in the process.”
The green chamber explained that its objective would be to: identify, amend or remove legislation that militates against the free flow of capital into the sector; reform regulations and mandates that distort the free operation of the market and increase the cost of doing business in the sector.
The House also assured that it would step up its oversight functions to ensure that the funds allocated to the development of the power industry are judiciously and effectively employed.
It added that the mismanagement and misuse of funds are also one of the issues hindering electricity development in Nigeria.
All records of legislative proceedings and documents with respect to the energy sector, particularly those related to misuse of funds, according to the House, would be reviewed for onward legislative deliberations and resolutions.
It emphasised that oversight should ensure that there’s no diversion of funds meant for electricity.
On estimated billing, the House noted that it would use the legislative instrument to mandate allocation of pre-paid meter to all consumers, stressing that currently, less than 20 per cent of electricity consumers in Nigeria are on a prepaid meter system.
It described it as an inefficient arrangement that places an undue burden on end-users of electricity, saying “this must stop,” while inspiring that all electricity consumers in Nigeria must be provided with prepaid meters within a fixed period.
The green chamber added that it would seek to enforce a comprehensive ban on the practice of estimated billing and make it impossible for distribution companies to continue to take undue advantage of consumers.
The House said it would further seek to pass legislation that would provide enabling grounds for the development of local engineering capacity and encourage technological advancement of Nigerian universities in the area of engineering technology.
It added that it would also pass legislation that would enable the federal government to actively exercise control over privatised yet inefficient power companies and encourage and assist capable market players and investors take over ineffective ones, among others.