National Assembly Approves 5% Allocation to Host Communities in Electricity Bill Amendment
The National Assembly has granted approval for the allocation of five percent from the annual operating expenditure of Electricity Generating Companies (GENCOs) to host communities. This move is a significant development in the ongoing efforts to address the concerns of communities hosting electricity installations. The decision was made following the concurrence with the Electricity Amendment Bill recently passed by the House of Representatives.
Background of the Electricity Bill
In June 2023, President Bola Tinubu assented to the electricity bill, granting states, companies, and individuals the authority to generate, transmit, and distribute electricity. However, due to the raised concerns of host communities, the bill was revisited in the National Assembly for necessary amendments.
Details of the Amendment
The approval for the 5% allocation was part of the concurrence to the Electricity Amendment Bill, presented by the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele. This amendment ensures that five percent of the actual annual operating expenditure for the preceding financial year by GENCOs from the member states will be dedicated to the development of host communities.
The specifics of the amendment state that the allocated funds will be received, managed, and administered by a reputable Trustee, jointly appointed by the GENCOs and a representative of the host communities. This appointment will follow an agreement between the GENCOs and the host community on one side and the Trustee on the other, focusing on the implementation of infrastructural development projects identified within the host communities.
Senate Leader’s Explanation
While leading the debate on the bill, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele emphasized the straightforward nature of the bill, clarifying that it aimed to address concerns of host communities that were not initially contemplated in the Electricity Act of 2023. He highlighted the non-controversial nature of the bill, indicating that it had undergone the necessary legislative processes in the House of Representatives.
Unified Approval in the Senate
The Senate unanimously agreed to concur with the amendment proposed by the House of Representatives, solidifying the commitment to addressing the concerns of host communities. This decision is a significant step towards fostering equitable development, shared prosperity, and a harmonious relationship between GENCOs and the communities they operate in.
The approval of the 5% allocation to host communities in the Electricity Bill Amendment reflects the National Assembly’s dedication to ensuring fair and sustainable development. This decision aligns with broader efforts to balance the economic benefits of electricity generation with the well-being of the communities directly affected by these operations. The amendment aims to create a more inclusive and mutually beneficial framework for the electricity sector in Nigeria.