The Senate on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to subsidise electricity for Nigerians in a bid to alleviate the proposed hike in electricity tariff, which had been deferred to next year.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, made the call while briefing newsmen in Abuja.
NAN reports that the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday waded into the controversy on the planned hike in electricity tariff from July 1.
The representatives of the Distribution Companies had maintained the same ground that they would support the suspension of the planned hike only if government would bear the differences in the present tariff and what was considered as the appropriate tariff.
Addressing newsmen, Suswam said: “Nowhere in the world that power is not subsidised, especially in developing economies, because there are genuine people who, because of their income, are unable to pay what is called cost-reflective tariff.
“Nigerians are heavily burdened because of COVID-19.
“The economy has contracted by 3.2 per cent.
“That’s a lot.
“So it makes it difficult for you and me to attend to some of our social problems.
“Would the government prefer to add to the burden or lessen it?
“The President has been doing well.
“He has spent so much money, and what we expect is that the spending will gradually reduce or diminish as the power sector becomes more efficient.”
On the way forward, the chairman said it was to make the power sector more efficient and for government to back out just like they had done in the oil sector, where subsidy had been completely removed.
“Suswam said: Even at that, the government is reducing the pump price.
“So, should they, in the same vein, increase tariff?
“It doesn’t make sense.”
He expressed the hope that the executive would agree to subsidise electricity even though it was going to come at a cost.