- We wonder why this government espouses unfriendly policies – TUC
WHILE trying to deny that the federal government had increase electricity tariff, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) rather inadvertently confirmed that there was actually a 100% increment.
The NERC in a statement on Tuesday entitled: “Public Notice on Purported 50% Increase in Electricity Tariffs,” signed by Management, urged the public to disregard media reports “in the print and electronic media misinforming electricity consumers that the Commission has approved a 50% increase in electricity tariffs.” (Its emphasis)
However, in its attempt to explain the current tariff band, the NERC inadvertently revealed that there was actually an increase in a band range to the tune of 100%, when it states that: “In compliance with the Electric Power Sector Reforms Acts (EPRSA) and the nation’s tariff methodology for biannual review, the rates for Service Bands A, B, C, D and E have been adjusted by N2.00 to N4.00 per kWhr to reflect the partial impact of inflation and movement in foreign exchange rates.” (Its emphasis)
Earlier in the same paragraph in which the admission is made, the NERC had stated: “The Commission hereby state unequivocally that NO approval has been granted for a 50% tariff increase in the Tarff Order for electricity distribution companies which took effect on January 1, 2021. On the contrary, the tariff for customers on service bands D & E (customers being served less than an average of 12hrs of supply per day over a period of one month) remains frozen and subsidized in line with the policy direction of the federal government.” (Its emphasis)
While calling on the media to retract the story in public interest, it also restated its commitment to protecting electricity consumers.
“In the light of strong public interest and on this matter, the media is hereby requested to retract their earlier publications misinforming electricity consumers nationwide about a purported 50% increase in electricity tariffs.
“The Commission remains committed to protecting electricity consumers from failure to deliver on committed service levels under the service-based tariff regime. Any customer that has been impacted by any rate increase beyond the above provision of the tariff Order should report to the Commission at email@example.com”
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has expressed its disappointment on the increase as negotiations were still ongoing.
In a statement signed by Comrade Quadri A. Olaleye and Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, TUC’s President and Secretary General respectively, entitled; “Electricity hike: Another betrayal of trust,” the labour centre wondered why the Buhari-led government “espouses policies that are capable of crippling the economy.”
The statement reads:
“The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) is disappointed by the recent 50 percent hike in electricity tariff done (yesterday) by the Federal Government while negotiations are ongoing with the organised labour on the last hike that became effective from November 1, 2020, because of the untold hardship it has brought on the workers and Nigerians as a whole.
“Sometimes we wonder why this government espouses unfriendly policies that are capable of crippling the economy. There are many companies that have either closed shops or relocated to neighbouring countries because they cannot afford to pay the last tariff hike yet this government has done another one. Does it mean there is no other way this government can creatively generate revenue? It has become obvious that the outrages from the organised labour and the masses and the series of negotiations we had with government were just cosmetic and hypocritical.
“There is so much deceit and laziness in the system. There is hardly any promise made that they have followed through. Only yesterday we read again that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is withdrawing its members because this same government has reneged on its promises reached few days ago. How can government go ahead to increase tariff again when we have not resolved the one done earlier? This is preposterous, ridiculous and sheer wickedness.
“We have been labelled what we are not because we want a peaceful industrial atmosphere. The economy was struggling before the outbreak of the pandemic and we thought it was wise not to worsen our situation. The sacrifice means nothing to these people, who force us to tighten our belt while they loosen theirs. Darkness enhances criminal activities and now they have chosen to keep us in darkness thinking their high fences will save them.
“We call on government to be responsible for once. Nigerians will like to know what we gained from border closures. Insecurity did not stop; neither did it stop the smuggling of rice and others. You don’t just churn out policies without weighing the pros and cons. How many people can afford to pay the last bill, talk less of this recent one? The organised labour should not be pushed to the wall because it will actually do ALL no good. Government must revert to the old price or be willing to accept the outcome of this decision. This is a betrayal of trust and it is unfortunate.”