Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday advocated for sanctions against electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, that fail to live up to the terms of agreement that they reached with the federal government before commencing operations.
Saraki made the call when the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, led other members of the commission on a courtesy visit to the Senate president in Abuja.
He said the National Assembly was eager to see Nigerians enjoy power supply and at the cheapest cost possible, adding that the Senate would ensure that all acts of impunity by DISCOs are eradicated.
“More importantly, our own point of view is that how do we ensure that majority of the owners of DISCOs keep to some of the agreements or the commitments they made at the time of purchase.
“Some of them by the time they were buying these assets had committed to certain investments that were going to be done. The question is, are they on schedule and what is the time frame for most of these investments to be in place?
“We are both on the same side which is to ensure that consumers get value for their money. You work directly with them and it is important that you bring to our attention what is necessary to ensure that at the end of the day the consumers, the Nigerian people get the best benefit.
“The aim at the end of the day is to ensure that every Nigerian gets power and they get it at the cheapest possible cost and those who are responsible for running these units keep to the agreement.’’
Earlier, Amadi told the Senate president that the commission was doing all it can to eliminate fixed electricity charges. He also added that one of the factors militating against increased power supply is the weak infrastructure in the country.
“We have mandated DISCOs to restructure the fixed charge in a way that they would also receive their revenue, but in a manner that does not unfairly inconvenience or exploit the consumers.’’
Also, the Senate promised to improve its oversight functions on Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, as well as revisit some laws, bills and reports which were not completed in the seventh Senate.
The upper legislative chamber also said that it would no longer condone the practice of late submission and passage of annual budget by the presidency.
Specifically, it warned that it would henceforth impose a timeframe for submission of the annual budget, as well as deadline for approval of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF.
The Senate in ensuring the stoppage of the practice is also considering that a timeframe for the defense of budget proposals by ministries, departments and agencies is strictly adhered to.
These were fallouts of general debate on the Senator Ali Ndume-led committee report on the eight Senate legislative agenda which was read on the floor of the Senate yesterday.
The report proposed a comprehensive review of Nigeria’s budgeting and planning process towards achieving efficient and result-oriented use of national income and resources.

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