The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has described as “a painful pill” Nigerians must “swallow”, the increase in electricity tariff.
He made this known on Monday while reacting to the nationwide protests by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to reverse the new electricity tariff which was increased by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
His words, “Importantly, I understand that people who have been disappointed over a long time will feel a sense of concern that again tariffs have gone up. But the truth is that these tariffs ought to have been there from day one. I don’t know why the government of yesterday was not courageous enough to tell us this was the price.
“It is a painful pill that I must appeal that we swallow. It is like quinine and malaria. It’s painful; it’s not sweet, I know that, but I do it because we are not left with many choices. This is the first major decision in power that this administration has taken. There are other problems.
“I can only appeal for some understanding and some trust that we do this in the best interest of our country”.
Fashola, while responding to a question on what the problems in the sector were, said, “The problem is everywhere. The problem is with us. The problem is with gas. The problem is with transmission. The problem is with the way the privatisation exercise itself was conducted. “But as I have said before, I am not going to lament what has happened in the past. I am going to move on with it. So, the first move we have made when we accessed the situation, nobody was happy with it when we took over.
“This is a problem that has been here for 16 years, if we put it mildly. It is a problem that has been here 100 years ago, if we put it really extremely. I have been here for less than a 100 days, and I think we can solve this problem if you give us the tools that we need to do it. I think that this problem can be solved, and the day that we feel that it cannot be solved, I will gladly come and tell you that I don’t think it will work,” he stated.
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