Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Fashola, has been told to live up to his responsibility by the Joint Senate Committee on Power, Employment, Labour and Productivity.
While lamenting the deplorable state of power supply in the country, the senate committee accused Fashola of defending what it perceived as an unjustifiable increase in electricity tariff, lashing him for unnecessarily defending, pampering and protecting the power firms.
The committee expressed its anger at a public hearing it organised on the hike in electricity tariff in the country.
Defending his actions, the minister argued that adequate consultations were carried out among stakeholders in the power sector before the new tariff was fixed.
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He further asked those expecting the federal government to reverse the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariff to perish the thought, because doing so would be counter-productive.
According to him, it was too early to judge the effectiveness of the privatization of the nation’s power sector, which was done only in 2013 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He asked the Senate to study the report of the House of Representatives, which he said had earlier carried out a similar public hearing, noting that the report would give the Senate a comprehensive knowledge of events which led to the hike in electricity tariff.
Fashola said that in the past, it was easy for government managing the distribution access to say “give power to the people; don’t collect money”. But he said this was no longer possible because government had become a minority shareholder in the business.
He defended the 45 per cent tariff increase done by NERC, regretting, however, that the destruction of pipelines in Niger Delta region by some militants had continued to frustrate efforts to improve power supply.
Fashola said one of the reasons why tariff had to go up was that a major component, a significant number of the nation’s power plant depended on gas, adding that there were only three hydro out of about 26 power plants.
Also at the hearing with Fashola was the acting Chairman, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Anthony Akah.