FILE: Members of the House of Representatives at plenary
The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to exclude the application of Public Procurement Act to contracts and projects in the power sector.
The House also approved the establishment of the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Agency and the National Power Training Institute.
The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 to Provide the Legal and Institutional Framework for the Implementation and Coordination of Rural Electrification Projects, Establishment of the National Power Training Institute and Regulatory Provisions to strengthen the Sector for Efficient Service Delivery; and for Related Matters.’
Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Mr Aliyu Magaji, who is leading 51 others to sponsor the bill, noted that the Electric Power Sector Reform Act was enacted as far back as 2005, as a consolidated legal framework that regulates the power sector in Nigeria.
The lawmaker decried the delay in amending the law, which he said had lasted about one and a half decades, until the emergence of various challenges that affect the efficiency, corporate stability and prospects of the power sector.
Magaji also noted that the bill was supported by stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Power, the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, the Power Generation Companies in Nigeria, the Association of Nigeria Electricity Distribution and the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria.
The House amended Section 24 by inserting a new subsection (2A) which request stakeholders input in the Commission’s report to the Minister on prospect of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry in the privatisation era and added a new section ‘24A’ which lists agencies under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry responsible for power
The lawmakers also amended section 26 of the Act to make Nigeria’s electricity supply industry more competitive in the post-privatisation era.
The House also amended Section 67 with a view to enhancing the conditions that regulate the application of distribution license., as well as section 68 to exclude the application of Public Procurement Act to contracts made under this section, and amended section 71 to enhance the terms for the grant and operation of license.
The lawmakers also adopted the recommendations in section 74 for cancellation of license and section 75 which deals with enforcement of license, as well as section 76 which deals with regulation of tariffs.
While Section 77 provides for enhancement of special provisions relating to generation, transmission and distribution companies, while section 78 deals with the use of certain conduits for electricity purposes.
Section 79 also provides for the expansion of scope of notice of construction of railways, roads and telecommunication works and control of other works, and inserted a new clause ‘79A’ to redefine the scope of rights and privileges of a licensee to maintain or construct electric lines or other electrical instruments on the right of way.
Clause 32 inserts a new clause ‘94A’ after the existing section 94 to provide stiffer penalties for crimes committed against electrical infrastructure.
Clause 16 amends section 57 to increase penalty from N20,000 to N50,000 against any commissioner, agent or employee of the commission for failure to comply with audit request of producing any document or record of accounts.
The lawmakers also introduced a new clause ‘79A’ to redefine the scope of rights and privileges of a licensee to maintain or construct electric lines or other electrical instruments on the right of way, while section 80 expands the scope of consumer protection standards.
The House also introduced a new clause ‘94A’, after the existing section 94 to provide stiffer penalties for crimes committed against electrical infrastructure.