By Grace Alegba
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has raised the hope of Nigerians towards ending crazy electricity billing with the announcement of approval for 108 firms to supply meters.
Fashola said this during the continuation of his neighborhood consultations/campaign for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 to two wards in Surulere Local Government of Lagos on Sunday.
At his own ward G3, Fashola reeled out the achievements of Buhari which included improved power supply. He said that 108 metering companies have been given licenses to supply meters to address problem of discriminatory and arbitrary billing in the electricity sector.
“It is the solution of our government by the President to intervene in the metering gaps, people were licensed as Gencos and Discos. Discos have the contract to supply meters and we hear the concerns of citizens now saying that they want meters because their bills are going up.
“So, the President and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the proposal for us supported by the law, the Electric Power Sector Reform, with that, we can license new operators within a licensed area. So, this time, we are going to create new businesses for meter suppliers under a Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme. That policy has been approved.
“Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has made the regulations around which it will work; 108 companies, small businesses that will also create employments because those companies are now going to be the suppliers of meters. They are going to employ people to install the meters, they are going to buy meters, they are going to make meters,’’ he said.
The Minister said that the Buhari administration had also provided solar power to 450 shops in the Iponri Market because the traders organised themselves and a private firm was contracted to handle the project.
He added that government was ready to extend the solar service to the Iponri Estate, if the residents were ready to have a service centre. While seeking the support of his constituents in Ward G3, Fashola appealed to the residents not to sell their votes. He urged them to vote the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general elections.
The Minister explained to them that the encumbrances that made people waste time at the polling units while trying to cast votes in the past had been removed. Speaking on vote buying, he said “they would want to bribe you, if they bring the money collect it because it is your money that they stashed away, but, don’t sell your conscience. You must make a sensible choice in the interest of yourselves and your children.”
Fashola told journalists that it was important to take the campaign to the door steps of the people because they played important roles in various spheres of national life.
He said that government had also put in place a maintenance framework to ensure roads stay in good, motorable condition.
The Chairman of the Iponri Residents Association, Mr Tayo Ogunlade, drew the attention of the minister to some dilapidated infrastructure and some parts of the estate that was sinking. Other residents during the interactive meeting took turns to thank the Buhari administration for construction of some major routes leading into the estate.
During to a visit to Ward G2 in another part of Iponri, the minister communicated the achievements and goals of Buhari to residents, while seeking their votes in the 2019 polls.