Nigeria denies plan to hike electricity tariff

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Nigeria denies plan to hike electricity tariff

Nigeria’s federal government has reversed itself on the plan to raise electricity tariff, after the announcement of the plan triggered angry reactions from many groups, including the umbrella Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Minister of State for Energy, Mrs. Fatima Ibrahim, had said earlier this week the government would soon raise the current electricity tariff, which stands at 6 naira (0.05 cents) per KW/h, in order to encourage private sector participation in the ongoing efforts to improve the country’s dismal power situation. But Ibrahim later stepped back from the comments, saying consultations were still ongoing on the issue. The local media reported Friday the volte face by the Minister came after she was scolded by President Umaru Yar’Adua, irked by the widespread criticism of the plan. The NLC has rejected the tariff hike plan, saying the government should first provide a stable electricity supply. Nigeria’s current power generation of about 3,000MW is grossly inadequate for the country’s population of 140 million. The low power generation means most households get less than six hours of electricity supply per day, at best. But the government of President Umaru Yar’Adua has announced plans to double the current power generation in 18 months, and to take it to 10,000MW by 2015 through the participation of private firms. To date, some 25 of such firms have been licensed by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). The Yar’Adua administration has been roundly criticised for reneging on the campaign pledge to immediately declare an emergency in the power sector if elected to office. The administration has said it is putting in place the necessary structures ahead of the declaration.

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