Faced with the need to boost electricity in the rural areas, among other ways to make life bearable for the masses, the Senate yesterday approved the immediate transfer of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC accrued surpluses to be the Rural Electrification Fund, REF.
This followed a motion titled, “Need for full implementation of the transfer of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) surplus funds from yearly budgeted requirements, to the Rural Electrification Fund, as established by the Electricity Power Reforms Act 2005, No. 6”, by Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP Abia North).
The senate said it was eager to see Nigerians enjoying electricity supply at the cheapest and most efficient cost possible.
It noted that, “the cost of providing adequate gas-fired and hydro-powered electricity supply and infrastructure, even at the global minimum cost per unit megawatt in dollar/natural gas, remains one of the greatest impediments to the development of power sector”.
The senate expressed concern that only approximately 40 percent of Nigeria’s total population today have access to electricity supply, and with only 10 percent of the nation’s rural households enjoying electricity coverage.
According to Senator Ohuabunwa, REF was established to specifically assist in the funding of the Rural Electrification Agency, REA so as to achieve improvement of electricity supply coverage of households in the rural areas.
He also explained that the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, 2005, No. 6, in establishing the NERC, particularly charged the commission in the use of its surplus funds to support objective of rural electrification
Ohuabunwa added that Section 53 directs NERC to ensure that through its yearly audited accounts, it determines when a portion of funds received through its operational activities, are surplus to its budgeted requirements, and cause such funds to be paid by the commission to be Rural Electrification Fund, as established under Part 1X of the Act, subjected to approval btw the National Assembly.
The lawmaker therefore expressed worry that NERC has not transferred its yearly surpluses fro budgeted requirements to the REF, so as to promote the objectives of REA as established by the Act.
If this is done, he said “will certainly raise the percentage level of rural households in Nigeria e enjoying electricity supply above its present 10 per cent coverage, and to the benefit of our rural citizens and the national economy”.
Ruling on the motion, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, commended his colleagues for the urgent approval given the transfer of the surplus funds, saying this has become necessary since the House of Representatives has taken similar action in the interest of the masses.


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