The National Economic Council (NEC) has approved the sum of N50 billion for subsidising the new electricity tariff tagged Multi-Year-Tariff-Order (MYTO), which is to take off on June 1.

The approval of the subsidy on the new tariff order applies to the poor in rural and urban areas. It is also expected that this will reduce by 40 percent, the personal cost emerging from lack of power supply for small and medium businesses in the country and return fleeing manufacturing concerns to Nigeria.

Addressing journalists at the State House, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State who briefed alongside his counterpart governors, Liyel Imoke of Cross River; Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna;  Babangida Aliyu of Niger;  Lagos State Deputy Governor, Joke Orelope-Adefulure; and Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi, said the council took the decision after considering a presentation by the chairman of the Nigerian Energy Regulatory Commission, Dr. Sam Amadi on the proposed five-year tariff plan which is designed to enable investors recover their costs.

According to him, the benefits of MYTO include: “no increase for the poor, in fact they will be paying less, guarantees energy efficiency, has N50 billion subsidy component for the next two years, free full metering of all customers between 12 and 16 months to ensure that every customer is billed according to use, provide access to energy-saving bulbs which can reduce cost of consumption by 40 percent and lifeline customers (low users in cities and villages) to pay less with no meter maintenance fee or fixed charges”.

Speaking on plans by some Nigerians who are gearing up to oppose the increase and the fact that most Nigerians pay for what they do not consume, Obi said, “All these things will end. There is going to be a decrease and increase.

“There will be a decrease for the low users and the poor people within the cities and the rural areas and there will be increase for the high users. But in the end, nobody is going to invest like they are investing in Ghana, in Chad and everywhere unless we do something, because if you are a business man and you are being asked to put money where you are going to lose money, you are not going to do it.”

According to him, if the power problem is solved, Nigerians will pay less than 20 percent of what they pay today generating their own power.

“To ensure that, there will now be accurate metering, no longer estimated metering. These were issues we looked at, let’s have the real thing. Nigerians will be ready to pay but you have to demand for the real thing,” Obi said.

“I understand the agitations from Nigerians because when they see things like this they are always agitated. But in the long run, what we need to do is to hold everybody responsible that they deliver the correct result. And I assure you that what is coming now if we get it right, the average barber shop, vulcaniser, everybody will spend less than 20 percent of what he is spending today in generating his own power and there will be increase in job creation.

“Manufacturers are leaving Nigeria to Ghana, businesses are leaving Nigeria because of cost of power. So we are going to them, you are paying this in Ghana pay it here and stay here. And that is what is important so that they can employ labour.”

The NEC, which was chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo, also discussed the revised national housing and urban development policy which is expected to institute the concept of effective mass housing programme for the people.

The new policy thrust promises social housing and low-income housing, better co-ordinated housing and urban development, employment generation and sustainability, increased availability of finance for housing development, reduction in the number of slums and shanty settlements, and better governed towns and cities. 

The Central Bank Governor updated Council on the guidelines for accessing the N65 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS), stating that some states have been able to access the fund.

NEC encouraged more states to seek to benefit from the scheme, especially to support agriculture in this farming season.

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