The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has faulted the Electricity bill being deliberated in the Senate, condemning a provision which authorises the power minister to head all relevant agencies, a position, the power minister says ”still needs to be further strengthened”.
According to the NGF, the legislation is unconstitutional and not an exclusive federal matter.
The bill, now at committee stages in the Senate, seeks to repeal the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, consolidate all legislations in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and enact an omnibus Electricity Act for the industry to provide the ideal legal and institutional framework that will regulate the post – privatisation phase of the industry in Nigeria.
It also seeks to provide the framework that would leverage on the gains of the privatised electricity industry in Nigeria to accelerate growth in power generation capacity as well as improve utilisation of generated power.
In a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswam, the NGF noted that “electricity” is not an exclusive federal matter, but it is rather guided by the provisions of the Concurrent Legislative List.
The letter was signed by the NGF chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and was addressed to the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Articles 13 and 14, the NGF said, provide that the power to make laws for the generation and transmission of electricity are concurrent.
Article 14 also reserves exclusively to the state the power to make laws for the distribution of electricity within a State as it also has the power to make laws for the generation and transmission of electricity exclusively within the borders of a State.
The Forum noted that the reality of the states as key partners in the achievement of universal electricity access by all Nigerians must not only be accepted by the federal government but must be legislated by the National Assembly.
The NGF also regretted that the report of the National Economic Council (NEC) following an analysis it conducted in 2020 that is yet to be implemented.
It also described as egregious, a part of the bill that seeks to establish a single federal government appointee, the Minister of Power, as the de facto head and statutory supervisor of the entire key federal government electricity sector including the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in a supposedly privatised electricity sector.
It, therefore, called for a close collaboration between the NGF, the National Assembly and the Federal Executive in charting a new and productive path towards bringing energy security to our country.