Receives report of FG/Labour interface panel
THE House of Representatives has begun moves to further unbundle the electricity sector as well as eradicate the monopoly of electricity generation, transmission and distribution hitherto enjoyed by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
To this effect, a Bill for an Act to amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, CAP. E7, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and other matters connected therewith yesterday scaled second reading on the floor of the House.
But a spirited attempt made by Khadijat Bukar Abba-Ibrahim, urging the House to adopt a motion seeking to condemn the deployment of troops to Lagos State following the suspension of the strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the civil society groups protesting the subsidy removal was declined by members in a voice vote.
The Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, referred the proposed legislation on electricity to the House Committees on Constitution Amendment, Power and Justice for further legislative input.
The sponsor of the Bill, Patrick Ikhariale had during the lead debate argued that electricity problems had been the bane of development in the country, resulting in the reduction of socio-economic activities and other sundry sectors in Nigeria.
While expressing the need for the decentralisation of the electricity sector, he pointed out that companies in the country had had cause to close down owing to low electricity generation thereby giving rise to higher cost of locally manufactured goods.
“Globally, corporate bodies and states with financial muscles go into the business of generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, we must take a cue from them in order to enhance the electricity industry in the country.
“The Federal Government alone cannot meet the requirement as much as we need. Amending the electricity power reform Act will enable state governments and other corporate organisations who have the resources to delve into power generation, transmission and distribution”, he said.
Other lawmakers who supported the Bill included the House Minority Whip, Samson Osagie, Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Ibrahim Ebbo, Akpan Umoh, Adams Jagaba and Peter Edeh.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has received the report of the ad-hoc committee on the interface between the representatives of the Executive arm of government and organised labour on the removal of fuel subsidy.
The Chairman of the committee, Patrick Ikhariale submitted the report on the floor yesterday during the plenary session presided over by Tambuwal.
The ad-hoc committee was set up by the House during an emergency session penultimate Sunday to interface in the impasse between labour, civil society groups and the Federal Government over the fuel subsidy removal.
Ihkariale last weekend told reporters at a press conference at the National Assembly that there was hope of an amicable resolution of the matter following the intervention of the chamber in the subsidy face-off.
The lawmaker had disclosed that it was at the instance of the ad-hoc committee that the government shifted grounds to adopt the new price regime, even as he lamented what he called “misconstrued perception of the House,” and stressed that the chamber was committed to an amicable resolution of the matter.