Electricity tariff: Minister of power apologizes for saying Nigerians keep freezers on always

Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu has issued an apology to Nigerians for his recent controversial statement regarding electricity tariffs.

In an appearance on Channels Television’s “Politics Today” program, Adelabu expressed regret for any offence caused by his remarks.

“Anything we have said that are considered offensive, we are sorry about that,” Adelabu said.

Acknowledging the backlash he faced over his previous comments, Adelabu clarified his stance and explained the rationale behind the decision to review electricity tariffs.

He emphasised that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has the legal authority to carry out tariff reviews, as stipulated in the Electricity Act 2023.

Addressing concerns about reducing government subsidies for electricity, Adelabu highlighted the financial constraints the government faces.

He emphasised the need to manage subsidies prudently, considering the significant amount allocated in the 2024 budget.

His words: “Since I resumed office, one of the key issues that we found out is the lack of liquidity in the sector and the lack of appropriate pricing for power, which the government has been subsidising for a while.

“So, we looked at the subsidy requirements for the year 2024, and we found that it would cost the government over three trillion naira.

“We said let’s be reasonable because the government cannot afford to pay three trillion naira for subsidies in the power sector alone when the total budget is N28 trillion.

“N3 trillion is less than 10 per cent of the total budget meant for the entire country, and there are other competing sectors that we believe also need resources. We said it was not possible for the government to continue to subsidise at that rate. So we looked at how the subsidy can be reduced.

“15 per cent of the customers, which is about 1.5 million out of about 12 million customers, should be able to afford the new electricity tariff while about 85 per cent, over 10 million, will continue to enjoy the subsidy. Why did we do that? The problem in the power sector is that you cannot upgrade the infrastructure 100 percent for all the customers.

“We looked at those customers that have relatively better infrastructure that can enable the distribution companies to give some reasonable number of supply, and we said these are Band A customers.

“There are about 1500 feeders that fall under this Band A customer. We looked at them, and said no, let us reduce the number of feeders, so we downgraded them to just 500 feeders, so that those who will be affected will not be more than 15 per cent of customers.”

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