Buhari and the electricity crisis

The way things are going, there may be nothing to reckon with the Buhari administration except the unbridled increases in electricity tariff without a commensurate power supply improvement. This one thing may rubbish whatever other achievements the Buhari administration may have recorded. The past five years have witnessed frequent tariff increases that Nigerians are lamenting. There is no noticeable change, so to say, in the power sector other than the frequent tariff hikes. The same epileptic power that has defined Nigeria for decades still plagues Nigerians.

The only change that Nigerians may know is the exorbitant electricity tariff, which people are forced to pay. The issue of the much-talked about pre-paid meters, which consumers thought would bring succour is indeterminate. Government and the DISCOs are playing game with it to the detriment of Nigerians. While some consumers are lucky to have the meters installed in their premises, others paid exorbitant charges to have them, while the majority still doesn’t have it.

The latest electricity hike billed to take effect from July 1, 2020, amid the ravaging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is the most insensitive. The government should perish the thought. Nigerians, like people elsewhere, are facing a dire situation. Millions have lost their jobs; businesses are low, leading to dwindled income for individuals and corporate bodies.

Whereas, the concern of everyone at the moment is how to survive the pandemic, government, on the other hand should not be hatching how to put more burden on the famished citizenry by way of electricity tariff increase. This is most unfortunate. It goes to underscore the feeling among the populace that the welfare of the people is not reckoned in government calculations.

All that the DISCOs want is increased revenue from the people. But the question is where will the people who have been on lockdown with businesses shut since March and no income get the money to pay the new tariff? There is no amount of increase that will change the present state of poor power supply.

There are fundamental issues plaguing the power sector that must be addressed before any improvement would occur. The engagement of Siemens to rebuild the decrepit power infrastructure is thought to be the first step towards fixing the electricity issue. Why not allow Siemens to do the job first. Why impose more tariffs on weary Nigerians when the developed countries are issuing monthly pay cheques to their citizens, to cushion the impact of the economic lockdown?

Read the full article in Guardian

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