NGF kicks against electricity bill
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has kicked against the electricity bill currently before the senate.
The NGF, in letter signed by its chairman, Ekiti state Governor Kayode Fayemi, described the bill as “constitutional”.
Fayemi, in the letter addressed to Gabriel Suswam, chairman of the senate committee on power, said it is “unconstitutional” for the upper legislative chamber to consider and pass a bill that treats the federation as a “single electricity sector”.
“We wish to point out that electricity is not an exclusive federal matter. It is guided by the provisions of the concurrent legislative list,” the Ekiti governor said.
“Articles 13 and 14 clearly provide that the power to make laws for the generation and transmission of electricity are concurrent. Also, Article 14 reserves exclusively to the State the power to make laws for the distribution of electricity within a state as it also does have the power to make laws for the generation and transmission of electricity.
“It would be unconstitutional and an unjustifiable act of overreach for the Senate to consider and pass a bill that continues to treat the federation as one single electricity jurisdiction or sector.
“While a single Electric Power Sector Reform Act may have been useful as a catalyst for the sector in the early years of the fourth republic, the states have all come of age, literally and metaphorically, and the arrangements must change in a way that accepts and respects the maturity of the states in electricity matters; a reality that this senate electricity bill does not recognise and take account of but at best only pays the most cursory lip service.”
The NGF chairman said the state-controlled power market has the capacity of 40,000 megawatts.
“After 71 years of sole and unchallenged central control of the electricity sector, we have an electricity sector divided into two parts,” he said.
“One part is the FG-controlled and-regulated national electricity market that today is insolvent, bankrupt and delivers no more than approximately 4,000MW/96,000MWh daily to 220 million Nigerians, or an average of 18w/432watt-hours dally, barely enough to power two (2) 10-watt light bulbs a day.
“The other part of Nigeria’s electricity sector is the alternative/back-up market, whose estimated capacity is approximately 40,000MW so much so that Nigerian citizens are their own electricity providers in their homes, factories, schools, hospitals, and places of worship.