…says estimated billing remains ‘a no, no’
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila on Tuesday inaugurated the House Ad-hoc Committee on Power Sector Reforms, charged with the responsibility of undertaking a holistic review of the power sector in Nigeria and recommending appropriate legislative action to the House.
Gbajabiamila said setting up the ad-hoc committee became necessary because of the resolve of the House to ensure a comprehensive review of all legislation relating to the power sector.
The Speaker noted that he was personally concerned about the myriad of challenges in the power sector, saying the issue of estimated billing system “remains a no, no,” and that whatever needed to be done to address the issue must be carried out.
“Our nation has long struggled with the problem of fixing the power sector in Nigeria and getting it to work in the optimal interest of all our people. We have not succeeded, despite the best efforts of many.
“The consequences of that failure are evident in the many industries that have collapsed across the country. It is also apparent in the abysmally low productivity of existing industries due to the enormous cost of generating their power independently.
“The power sector is so integral to our national economic growth, to national security and even to social development, that we cannot ever stop trying to get it right. It is for this reason that the House of Representatives on the 12th of May, 2020 resolved to set up this AdHoc Committee to undertake a holistic review of the power sector in Nigeria and to recommend legislative action to the House of Representatives,” he said.
He said the ad-hoc committee, chaired by House Leader, Rep. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, must take steps to ensure that the House fulfils its commitment of a comprehensive review of all legislation in the power sector.
“The importance this AdHoc Committee’s assignment is perhaps best reflected in the choice of Hon. Ado Doguwa, the Majority Leader of the House as its chairman.
“It would not be an easy task. Nation-building rarely is. But it will be a worthwhile effort when at the end of it, we can initiate and complete necessary legislative reforms to remove the regulatory and bureaucratic bottlenecks that continue to mitigate against optimum performance in the sector.”
He expressed confidence in the ability of the committee leadership and the members to deliver on the critical assignment the House has given them.
“I assure you of my support and that of the House of Representatives. Still, I must ask you to keep three things in mind. First, the complexity of the issues in the power sector are such that your success will depend a great deal on your ability to engage productively with experts and stakeholders across the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). Please do not be reluctant in this regard.
“Secondly, be sure to resist any and all attempts to compromise your work or unduly influence the recommendations you make to the House. Finally, remember that success in this assignment may very well be the defining factor of both your legacies as well as the legacy of the 9th House of Representatives.
“Estimated billing remains a no, no for me and members of the House. However we need to do it, we have to do it,” he said.
Earlier, the chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Doguwa, thanked the Speaker for finding him and other members of the panel worthy of carrying out such an important national assignment.
Noting that despite huge investments made in the power sector over the years, Doguwa said Nigerians hardly feel the impact, but that they would do their best to unravel the situation.
He said they would serve with their strength and sense of commitment, responsibility and patriotism, and that they would not leave any stone unturned to right the wrongs in the power sector.
Delivering votes of thanks, the chairman of the House Committee on Power, Rep. Magaji Da’u Aliyu, who is a member of the ad-hoc panel, thanked the Speaker for giving them the opportunity to look into the complex issue in the power sector and assured that all hands would be on deck in discharging the assignment.