Electricity Tariff Increase: ‘FG’s Decision Not Only Insensitive But Callous’ – NLC, CSOs

The Nigerian Labour Congress  has kicked against the new electricity tariff increment.

NLC said the increase is insensitive and callous.

It said this would further impoverish the already pauperised Nigerians battling the hardship caused by the fuel subsidy removal.

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The Head of Information at the NLC headquarters, Benson Upah, said the labour would take a position on the “chaotic” policy after appropriate organs of the movement meet.

“The government’s decision is not only insensitive, it is callous. It further pauperises consumers, especially workers whose wages are fixed and insufficient.

“It similarly makes the operating environment more hostile for manufacturers with potential for an astronomical rise in cost of goods and services or in the worst-case scenario, more closures and loss of jobs.

“The only people who stand to gain from this mindless social violence against the people are the World Bank and IMF. Pity! We will get back to you on that (next step) after the appropriate organs decide.”

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The Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, once again slammed the federal government for increasing the electricity tariffs without consulting relevant stakeholders, “Especially in light of the ongoing hardships caused by the removal of fuel subsidy and the instability of the Naira.”

He alleged that similar to the unilateral removal of petrol subsidy, the government had demonstrated a lack of concern for the welfare of the people in its policies.

“In a democratic society, it is expected that the government should prioritise the interests of the people, but when this principle is disregarded, it signifies a regression towards a dictatorial era. In fact, the APC has consistently exhibited an authoritarian political culture, which can be traced back to the General Buhari regime.

“This authoritarian culture has now permeated all aspects of social relations in Nigeria, resulting in widespread insecurity, high levels of unemployment, rampant poverty, and the rapid depreciation of the naira.

“We have now reached a critical juncture where the people must take charge of their own survival,” he stated.

On his part, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Andrew Mamedu, said the new tariff hike would place “An unbearable burden on already struggling Nigerian households, particularly low-income families and vulnerable communities and SMEs.”

According to him, it is important for the government to recognise that its decision to remove the fuel subsidy contributed to the current situation.

“Therefore, the government should be prepared to bear the brunt of these policy decisions without unduly passing on the burden to Nigerian citizens.

“It is important to note that energy security is one of the major areas that contributes to national security and welfare, which explains why nations guide their energy sector seriously and are always up and doing ensuring its availability and affordability.

“For instance, the government of Canada is currently providing up to 100 Canadian Dollar subsidy within this year to support homes, following the economic hardship.”Mamedu said.

He said the government’s priority right now must be to explore alternative solutions that prioritise improving the efficiency of electricity distribution, addressing corruption in the energy sector and promoting renewable energy sources.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and some civil society organisations (CSOs) have kicked against the new hike in electricity tariff in the country.

Those who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday said all the reasons given by government officials on the increase were not tenable, saying even in advanced societies, citizens enjoy subsidies on some basic necessities like fuel and electricity.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) yesterday announced a tariff increment from N68 kilowatt hour (kwh) to N225 kwh.

The commission said the increment was made following consultations with the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) as well as the inability of the federal government to pay over N2.9 trillion that would accrue by the end of 2024 as electricity subsidy for failure to enable cost reflective tariff.

With this tariff hike, consumers under the Band A feeders and enjoying an average of 20 hours of power supply daily will pay about N135, 000 monthly.


Photo Credit: Getty

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