REMARKS BY RT. HON. YAKUBU DOGARA AT THE PUBLIC HEARING OF THE COMMITTEE ON POWER ON THREE POWER-SECTOR BILLS
REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, RT. HON. YAKUBU DOGARA AT THE PUBLIC HEARING OF THE COMMITTEE ON POWER ON THREE POWER-SECTOR BILLS HELD ON TUESDAY, 18TH JULY, 2017 AT THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, ABUJA
I welcome you all to this occasion of the Public Hearing on three important power sector Bills organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Power.
2. The Bills for consideration at this Public Hearing are as follows:
i. A Bill for an Act to provide for the utilisation, sustainability and adequate supply of renewable energy for electricity and heat generation and for other related matters, (HB.440).
Renewable energy is a source of clean energy which is environmentally friendly and is crucial to the economy of the future. We can only be self-sufficient in the energy field when we combine all of our energy resources such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass, bio-fuel, landfill, sewage gas, solid waste, geothermal energy, ocean energy etc. Renewable energy sources are natural and often replenishes itself. Nigeria needs to invest more in renewable energy as fossil fuel is a diminishing asset.
An appropriate legal framework to exploit renewable energy which is nature’s gift to mankind is not adequate in Nigeria. This makes it difficult to organise the sector in a commercially viable matter. Herein lies the merit and strength of this Bill under consideration. The Committee should also ensure that the financial provisions of the Bill is in conformity with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and extant laws on the subject. Appropriation by the National Assembly is critical to expenditure by any agency of government.
ii. A Bill for an act to amend the National Electricity Regulatory Commission meter reading, billing and cash collection and credit management for electricity supplies Regulations No.2 of 2007, Cap E7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to address matters relating to outstanding liability of electric bills in rented apartments and for other related matters, (HB. 510).
The Committee should take closer look at this Bill to determine the best way to amend existing Regulations. Should a subsidiary legislation introduced administratively by an agency of government be amended or added to by legislation? This question I am sure will receive adequate treatment by this distinguished Committee made of some of the best hands in the House of Representatives.
iii. A Bill for an Act to amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, Cap. E7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to reposition the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for effective service delivery and for related matters, (HB.611).
3. At the inception of the 8th House of Representatives, the House committed itself in its Legislative Agenda (2015 – 2019) to devise a “Legislative Initiative on Power: The House shall take legislative action to tackle Nigeria’s energy crisis that has led to a general collapse of industries and businesses and inflicted hardship on citizens. Legislative measures to support improved generation and distribution of electricity to homes and businesses will be encouraged”.
4. The importance of the power sector to the economic health of our nation can never be over-emphasised. Power is arguably the single most important driver of the national economy. Indeed, it is difficult if not impossible to imagine modern life without power. Our industries and factories need electricity to run; and so do our offices, homes and businesses.
5. Over the decades, the sector has enjoyed substantial government investment. From 1999 to date, the federal government has spent Trillions of Naira in the sector without commensurate returns on investment. Nigerians continue to use expensive alternative sources of energy like generators instead of renewables. It is estimated that Nigerians spend about $5 billion US Dollars yearly to fuel their generators. This is an unacceptable situation and the House of Representatives stands ready to support the Executive arm of government to put a stop to this state of affairs.
6. The essence of Public Hearing by the National Assembly is not only to give access to Nigerians to their Legislature but more importantly to source for expert information and crucial insights required to give a pending legislation the necessary support to come out well from the legislative mill.
7. I know we have in attendance representatives of critical stakeholders in the sector without whose presence today’s exercise would be diminished. I am also confident that this Committee ably led by Hon. Daniel Asuquo, will do what is necessary to give the House the appropriate recommendations arising from these Bills.
8. It is therefore my singular honour and privilege to declare this Public Hearing open. May I use this opportunity to thank you all and wish us fruitful and insightful deliberations.
9. God bless you and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.