Former chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi, on Sunday, said that the directive by the Nigerian Senate to suspend the new 45 per cent tariff hike is illegal, adding that the lawmakers do not possess the constitutional authority to reverse the hiked electricity tariff.
Recall that the Senate as well as Labour Unions had argued that it would be harsh to impose new tariff on all categories of customers without commensurate increase in electricity supply.
Justifying NERC’s stance on the hike, Dr Amadi, during an interview with Vanguard, said that the Senate’s attempt to wade into the matter, “is a direct infringement on the independence of the executive to initiate policies.”
He said, “It is a subtle derogation of the powers of the executive. It offends the concept of separation of power.
“The legislature should not interfere and direct executive action. That is clearly against the law. It is unconstitutional.”
Amadi also explained that the NERC lacks the power to suspend or rescind the tariff order issued by its former Board until a new Board was reconstituted.
“Until a new Commission has been reconstituted to consider whether to review or totally suspend the order, nobody anywhere can validly review or suspend the current tariffs.
“It is not wise for the Senate to instruct NERC to stop the tariff. It will create serious regulatory risks across the market value chain. People will begin to look at it and say there is no independence of the industry regulator,” he said.
In a swift reaction, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Aliyu Wabba condemned Amadi’s utterances.
He said, “What else do we expect from a Chairman who not only compromised the Commission, but surrendered willy nilly its functions to the successor-companies in the power sector for God-knows why.
“We also demand that if any DISCO (Distribution Company) or GENCO. (Generation Company) does not have the requisite capacity, it should honourably surrender its possessory and proprietary rights to government as was the case with the Yola Electricity Company. The Yola company was honourable enough and reasons adduced by it, genuine.
“We will not fold our hands while a few individuals or companies or institutions further plunder and plunge this country into abyss.”