For Now, We Won’t Increase Electricity Tariff—Osinbajo
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that Federal Government will not in any way increase electricity tariff at the moment.
Speaking on Monday at the 6th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for Private Sector Stakeholders held at the Old Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja, the Vice President said government will only focus for now on how to clean up the entire value chain.
However, he noted that paying for higher tariffs was “inevitable,” but government will continue to monitor progress in the power sector.
He said Federal Government would work with the World Bank on how to continue to provide support for the sector through subsidy.
“Listening to questions concerning lower tariffs, we must pay higher tariffs, these sorts of things are inevitable.
“What we are trying to do is not to increase tariffs for now, but how we can ensure we clean up the entire value chain.
“I’m sure you are aware of the Payment Assurance Guarantee which we put in place for over N700 billion to ensure gas is paid for and for liquidity in the whole value chain.
“Today (Monday), we will be meeting with the World Bank on a scheme they have been working with us on to fund the entire value chain, and ensure we transit smoothly from where we are, to a much more market-determined policy for electricity.
“This will involve a fair amount of subsidy and help the Federal Government and World Bank work together on that.
“There is no way of sustaining the current subsidies long term, but we want to ensure the process is smooth,” Mr Osinbajo said at the forum.
Commenting on the economy, the Vice President said he has been encouraged by the gains recorded so far.
“Let me again express my gratitude to your all for you time and for all of what you have done to make the Nigerian economy work well. All of us know how difficult it has been, but I am encouraged by the efforts which individuals, associations and groups are making to improve things, our circumstances and our situation as an economy.
“We are all firmly of the view that this country can do a lot more than what it is doing if we get the infrastructure and incentives right. This country can be one of the major agriculture and agric-business centres in the world. I am sure if we work together we can achieve all of that.
“Fundamental to our economic policy is private sector leadership, and we have emphasized that time and time again. We have tried to establish several public – private sector platforms including this one, the quarterly business forum.
“The constant engagement in my view is the way to go. If we continuously engage and interact this way, we will resolve most of the problems that stand in the way of our becoming the great economy that our country surely has the potential to be.”