Wednesday, May 28, 2014 8:11 pm
Abuja – The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has condemned the plan by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to increase electricity tariff.
This is contained in a statement jointly signed by its National President and Secretary-General, Malam Bobboi Kaigama and Mr Musa Lawal, respectively on Wednesday in Abuja,
It said that the move was uncalled for and described it as another deliberate attempt by some cabal to further exploit the already impoverished masses of the country.
The statement said that the power supply and distribution situation in the country had remained comatose even after the privatisation of the sector, contrary to the promise to tackle the inherent challenges.
It said the union found it indefensible that the government had apparently concluded plans to increase the tariff instead of prevailing on private sector electricity providers to increase power supply and distribution in the country.
It said that lack of steady electricity supply had led to the demise of many industries within the last few years while multitude of companies had gone under or fled the country.
“Shall we tender statistics of the millions of Nigerians who are jobless and many of whom have taken to vices that create insecurity in our land.
“The commission recently announced that electricity cost will increase by N1 per kilowatt for customers in R2 category from next month, and that the electricity Fixed Charge (FC) which was to rise to N1,500 from June 1 in the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) for 2014 would remain at N750 for some customers.
“We were further told that some positive variables triggered the significant changes in the proposed tariff regime.
“For instance, whilst MYTO in 2012 had projected a 13 per cent inflation rate, it was at 7.8 per cent by March 30, a difference of 5.2 percent.
“Also, exchange rate of $1 to N178 from CBN data was 11.6 per cent less than the projected, at N157.30 per $1 as at 30 March.”
The congress said since Nov. 1, 2013 when the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was ceded to 18 successor firms, electricity generation in the country had revolved around 3,000 megwatts.
It stated that the Daily Operational Report of the Transmission Company of Nigeria power generation had dropped from 4,105 megawatts in April to 3,674 megawatts as at May 24, 2014
The statement said that it was clear that the private sector investors had not performed any miracle to improve electricity supply,rather they were bent on imposing higher tariff on helpless Nigerians who were already paying exorbitant bills for power they do not consume.
It advised the commission not to contemplate any increment in electricity tariff until there was appreciable stability in the sector across the country.
“We demand that the commission jettisons the idea or risk incurring the wrath of workers and other Nigerians.
“The proposed tariff hike is anti-people and anti-labour.
“We, therefore, call on the management of the power firms and their regulator to have a rethink about it.
“The income of the average Nigerian cannot accommodate the extra cost of living, that any increase in price of power would provoke; neither can the social fabric withstand the negative fall-outs of such ill-advised action.”
It called on all Nigerian workers and other Nigerians to gird their loins in readiness to resist the planned increase.
NAN reports that the the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had recently announced plans to increase electricity tariff from June 1, 2014.