Former Lagos governor now Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Monday reviewed his relationship with his predecessor, Senator Bola Tinubu, and incumbent Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, saying they are cool and in good terms.
“Tinubu, Ambode and I are cool,” he told panelists on the ‘Morning Show’ programme of Arise TV.
There have been speculations that Tinubu and Ambode have not been in good terms with Fashola since he left office in 2015 to take up his job at the Federal Executive Council.
But he dismissed the speculations even as he clarified some of his policy options in the power sector, stating, for instance, that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, should ensure that the distribution companies, Discos, comprehensively provide meters to consumers in their networks before the regulatory agency implements a review of tariffs.
The Minister also said the federal government was no longer keen on providing sovereign guarantees for investors interested in building new power plants in the country.
He added that instead, the government would support interested investors with stable conditions for their investments.
Fashola explained that he had offered an opinion to NERC and other stakeholders in the power market that reviewing tariffs for the Discos without ensuring that they adequately close up the metering gap in the industry would be unfair to consumers.
He maintained that it was not his job to fix electricity rates, but that his views were based on ensuring that all parties in the industry, operators and consumers, were treated fairly by the market.
The Minister continued, “It is not the job of the minister to determine the price of electricity. That is not my work; it is the job of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC. The only opinion I have expressed, I think, is that it will be fair to consumers to ensure first that they have meters before you review the rates upwards so that at least people can control what they consume.
He explained further, “My views have been borne out by the evidence that when people have meters, in some cases, not in all cases, they pay less and they are able to control what they use.
“But the person who has the authority to determine whether electricity price will go up or down is not President Buhari; it is not Vice President Osinbajo; it is not any minister; it is the regulatory agency, the NERC, they fix the price of energy and they do so in consultations.”