NLC Frowns At Govt’s Plan To Increase Electricity Tariff
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Federal Government not to increase the electricity tariff.
The umbrella labour union said while many sectors, including Power, have been increasing tariffs, which have placed more burdens on Nigerians, especially the workers, there have not been commensurate increases in workers’ wages.
The NLC said five months after a seven-man technical committee on electricity tariff submitted its report, the Federal Government is yet to implement the recommendations in the report to reduce electricity tariff.
NLC Deputy President Joe Ajaero, who spoke on the pains of Nigerian workers, wondered why the electricity regulator – the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) – was considering another tariff increase when the wages of workers have remained stagnant.
Ajaero, who doubles as the General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), said there was a regulatory hijack of the Power sector by electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) which he said were bent on transferring their “inefficiencies” on poor Nigerians.
The seven-man technical committee on electricity tariff submitted its report on February 22, 2021, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja to Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige.
The minister had said at a bipartite meeting between the government and organised labour that the government would consider the reports on electricity tariff and petrol increases.
Ajaero, who spoke on a breakfast programme on African Independent Television (AIT), Kakaaki, said:
“Late last year when this issue came up (of course, you know they equally increased electricity tariff by 100 per cent), the NLC stepped in and then they set up a seven-man committee headed by Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN). I happen to be a member of the committee.
“We had certain assumptions – including the issue of who the members of NERC are – because it was clear who sits at NERC at the level of consultation.
“The law is clear that you have to equally consult with stakeholders before any increase (in electricity tariff) and those agreements were reached that the price of gas must be situated; that if we situate the price of gas very well, even what we are paying will crash.
“It was assumed that tariff would even come down, if we situate the price of gas very well. There are so many assumptions that came up from that agreement, and we came and submitted our report.
“The government, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and others, said they were going to consult with the principals and we went back. Up till this moment, none of those issues has been implemented. Then, you are coming up with another increase while as workers, our wage remains constant.
“There are workers that are paying N30,000 a month for electricity tariff. If you take one cost head and pay N30,000, what is going to happen? That is why people are crying.”