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Reps slams Buhari over transfer of NBET to finance ministry

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The House of Representatives has described as illegal and unconstitutional, a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Limited (NBET) be domiciled under the Ministry of Finance.

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Power, Mr. Aliyu Magaji (APC, Jigawa), declared that it should, therefore, be returned to the Ministry of Power.

The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Limited, which was created through the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, currently operates under the Ministry of Finance due to a recent order of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Reps committee overruled the president at a meeting between the Ministry of Power, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), electricity distribution companies (Discos) and other stakeholders at the National Assembly on Monday on the executive’s proposed electricity tariff increment.

The lawmakers explained that the law that put NBET under the power ministry has not been repealed and as such, it is illegal and unconstitutional to say it has been transferred to the supervision of the finance ministry.

Addressing the committee, acting permanent secretary of the Ministry of Power, Mr Ahmed Abdul, who represented the minister, Saleh Mamman, said they were informed of the presidential directive that NBET is now under the supervision of the Finance ministry.

Magaji and members of the committee, however, opposed the move which they described as illegal and unconstitutional.

“We are talking of the law; I am sure somebody must have misled somebody somewhere. This law (putting NBET under Ministry of Power) is yet to be repealed or reviewed. So, NBET still remains in the Ministry of Power as far as this parliament is concerned, unless we change the law.”

Meanwhile, the legislators also asked the regulatory agency to give account of the N213 billion Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF) disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to power distribution companies without commensurate result in services rendered to Nigerians.

The minister’s representative could not respond to the question and other raised at the meeting.

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