Arbitrary tariff: Electricity providers face N500,000 fines

NASS amends Utility Charges Commission Act, passes 11 other bills

ELECTRICITY providers in the country face a fine of up to N500,000 for any arbitrary increment in electricity fees, following the decision of the National Assembly to jerk up the fine from N10,000 to the current cost.

The development was sequel to the passage of the amendment to Utility Charges Commission Act, 2004, which was passed in the Senate on Thursday.

The House of Representatives had earlier passed the amendment, which was concurred to in the Senate on Thursday.

Deputy Senate leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who led the debate on the amendment in the Senate, told his colleagues that it was in line with current realities, adding that electricity regulatory agency must be informed before any hike in tariff by the service providers.

The lawmakers amended different sections of the law, including sections 7(2), 11(5) and 13(2), which paved the way for the 4,900 per cent increment in fine.

Besides the amendment of the utilities bill, the Senate also concurred to 11 other bills already passed by the House of Representatives, including the Defence Space Agency Bill; Agricultural Credit Scheme Act (Amendment) Bill; University of Abuja (Amendment) Bill; Chattered Institute of Stock Brokers Act (Amendment) Bill.

Others Bills concurred with by the Senate included the Treaty to Establish African Economic Community Relating to Pan African Parliament Bill; Utilities Charges Commission Act (Amendment) Bill; National Judicial Institute Act (Amendment) Bill; Endangered Species Act (Amendment) Bill; Quantity Surveyors Act (Amendment) Bill; Advertising Practitioners Act (Amendment) Bill; Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act (Amendment) Bill and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency (Amendment) Bill.

Also on Thursday, the Senate referred the  nominees to the board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to its committee on communications.

The nominees included Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chairman; Sunday Dare, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management; Aliyu Abubakar, Non-Executive Commissioner; Clement Baiye, Non-Executive Commissioner; Okoi Obia, Non-Executive Commissioner; Ezekiel Yissa, Non-Executive Commissioner and Ifeanyi Ararume, also a Non-Executive Commissioner.