National Assembly Sets New Punishment For Utility Defaulters



The National Assembly has prescribed a N500,000 fine on any providers of water, electricity and other utility providers who increases tariff without recourse to the Utilities Charges Commission.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the fine represents a 4900 per cent increment from the original fine of N10,000 prescribed in the Utilities Charges Commission Act 2004.

With the amendment, any utility service provider must first confer with and get approval from the commission before increasing tariffs and bringing hardship on Nigerians.

The Senate gave its concurrence to the Bill amending the Act which had already been passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate for concurrence.

Therefore electricity distribution companies will henceforth not unilaterally increase its tariff without first consulting the commission.

In his lead debate at Thursday plenary, Senate Leader Ali Ndume explained that the amendment was in line with current realities.

There have been protests across the country against the increase in electricity tariff which prompted citizens to march to the National Assembly.

Recall that the Nigerian Senate however directed the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, the ministry of power and electricity distribution companies to immediately suspend the increase.

The reduction kicked off on Monday, February 1. In a motion, Suleiman Nafiz, a senator who represents Bauchi north senatorial district, urged the Senate to probe how funds given to electricity companies had been spent.


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