The Minister of Power, Alhaji Mamman Saleh has quashed the rumours making rounds that as part of measures to cushion the effect of the lockdown on Nigerians, the Federal Government would pay 2 months electricity bill for Nigerians.
It was in a response to BBC Hausa in an interview published on its twitter handle @bbchausa, that the Minister made this known.
According to him “this matter has not been concluded yet, we are only looking at the possibility of doing so, the fact is, you see this power supply the first thing we do when the government declared this lockdown because of COVID-19 is to ensure there is a stable power supply for people to be more comfortable staying at home.
The Minister said: “you see there are first, those generating this power, then those transmitting it as well as those distributing the power to various household, those generating this power are private business people that own all of their equipment and it is strictly business.
The Minister added that “if you talk about paying the electricity bill for citizens, the first question you ask is who are those that fall under the category of beneficiaries, you know we have over 80 million people who don’t have access to electricity in Nigeria and we have over 200 million Nigerians so if you decided to pay a bill for 120 million people, the question is who are you paying for? those privileged people in Maitama, Victoria Island and other highbrow areas or those with companies and doing businesses and making profits while you abandoned the less privilege who don’t even have access to the electricity.
He said, “you see this free electricity bill will be paid with taxpayers money and you want to serve the interest of the privileged Nigerians, then the less privilege and the vulnerable what are going to do for them? He queried.
Mamman also said that because paying the electricity bills of Nigerians would amount to billions of Naira, it will be very difficult for the government to shoulder 2 months bill, adding that he has made it clear to those members of the National Assembly who initiated the idea that if they must do that, they should come up with their own way of raising the money.
He said “every month, what we pay as electricity bill, I mean what the distribution company are paying with the little support from government is a little above fifty billion naira monthly.”