The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has vowed to tackle corruption – estimated billings, illegal sales of meters among others – in the power sector.
Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN) gave the assurance recently during a consultation meeting of business membership organisations and electricity regulatory bodies.
He noted during the event organised by the Association of Public Policy Analysis (APPA-Nigeria) in Abuja that the incessant complaints about high electricity billings by distribution companies have become rife.
Owasanoye, who was represented by Mallam Hassan Salihu, an Assistant Commissioner in the Commission, called on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), and electricity regulatory bodies to join hands in the prevention of electricity-related corruption in Nigeria.
The ICPC boss revealed that the Commission articulated the National Ethics and Integrity Policy – Human Dignity, Voice and Participation, Patriotism, Personal Responsibility, Integrity, National Unity, and Professionalism – which is geared towards instilling lost values as a norm among citizens.
According to him, the ICPC was working to ensure accountability across the public and private sectors through the implementation of these core values, explaining that it would enable people working in the sectors to shun corruption.
Professor Owasanoye further stated that the Commission was empowered by the law to do system studies and reviews in government agencies and departments to mitigate the occurrence of corrupt activities in such organizations.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dikko Umaru Radda, said the agency formulates and implements policies for the ease of doing business and to make MSMEs competitive in the global market.
Radda, represented by Mrs. Olabanjo Fowler, an Assistant Director, Partnership and Coordination, stated that the multiplier effects of high electricity tariffs, poor transmission distribution, and supply of electricity on businesses were in no doubt grievous.
The SMEDAN boss added that these will increase MSMEs production costs and reduce their competitiveness in the global market.
He, therefore, called on other relevant agencies to partner in identifying the possible areas of intervention as it relates to electricity consumption protection in Nigeria.
In his paper titled “Mobilizing Stakeholders for Protection of SME Electricity Consumers Against unfair Business Practices through Enforcement of Electricity Consumers Protection Licensee Performance Standards for Job Creation and Economic Growth” the National President, Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA-Nigeria), Comrade Princewill Okorie, said that micro, small and medium enterprises operators have continued to complain over abuse of their rights as consumers of electricity.
He explained that these issues have hindered the operations of SMEs who need electricity to carry out production.
Okorie said that the unfair business practices against consumers are not abating while the expected support given to SMEs by funders is minimal.