Unless the Federal Government prevails on the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to stop the proposed hike in electricity tariff from 1st June as proposed by the Commission, a law suit will be slammed on it very soon.
Counsel to Nigerian Conscience Party, Femi Falana, threatened to file a suit at the Federal High Court should the NERC fail to reverse its decision.
According to Falana in a petition to the chairman of the commission, Dr. Sam Amadi titled: “Illegality of the proposed electricity tariff,” the proposed increase in tariff violated the provisions of Section 59(1) of the Constitution and Section 76 (2) of the Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
The erudite lawyer argued that the planned increment is illegal because there was no law empowering NERC to increase electricity tariff as proposed from next month, adding that the function of the commission was only to regulate prices of tariff.
The petition reads in part: “Your reliance on the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 to justify the proposed increase is totally misleading as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission is only empowered by Section 76(2) of the Act to regulate the prices of tariff to allow “a licensee that operates efficiently to recover the full costs of its business activities, including a reasonable return on the capital invested in the business.
“In other words, there is no provision in the law that empowers the commission to increase electricity tariff in anticipation of investment in the electricity sector. To that extent, the proposed increase in electricity tariff is illegal in every material particular.”
Acknowledging the concern of the Senate over the new tariff regime, the counsel to the NCP noted that the proposed tariff increment is legally untenable in as long as no bill for the increase has been submitted to the National Assembly for passage into law, as stipulated by Section 59(1)(b) of the Constitution.
“The section provides that there shall be a money bill “for the imposition of or increase in any tax, duty or fee or any reduction, withdrawal or cancellation thereof”.