COVID-19: Government can’t pay over N100bn electricity bill for Nigerians ― Power Minister
Nigeria Minister of Power, Alhaji Saleh Mamman has dismissed the speculations that the federal government will pay two-month electricity for Nigerians as part of palliatives to citizens to cushion the effect of the lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Mr. Mammam revealed this to BBC Hausa in an interview published on its twitter handle @bbchausa and monitored by our correspondent.
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 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 hundred business private business people that own all of their equipment and it is strictly business.
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Mr. Mamman further explained that ” if you talk about paying 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 eighty million people who don’t have access to electricity in Nigeria and we have over two hundred millions Nigerians so if you decided to pay bill for one hundred and twenty 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.
The minister also affirmed that it will be a very difficult task for government to pay the two-month electricity bill for citizens, stressing that putting the bill together will amount to over a hundred billion naira.
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.
Mr Staleh Mamman said he has explained to members of the National assembly that initiated the idea of free electricity for Nigerians citizens and if they insisted, they should come up with ideas to go about the action.