NLC “unequivocally” opposed to increase in Electricity tariff



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has restated that it is “unequivocally”  opposed to the proposed increase in electricity tariff on June 1, 2012.NLC in a statement  signed by its President Abdulwaheed Omar said today, “This move to increase energy tariff without improved power supply is not only uncalled for, but insensitive to the prevailing plight of workers and the Nigerian people.It is amazing that a sector that has shown lack of capacity in providing basic facilities with poor services could contemplate increase in its services.

Omar said “It would be recalled that a year ago the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had ruled that meter maintenance fee was illegal, but up till now we are doubtful if this has  been fully effected, with consumers paid back their money. It had also promised the provision of prepaid meters without fulfilling this promise as less than 10% of Nigerians have meters. The reality is that most Nigerians have their meter rates estimated, and pay to the PHCN in addition to paying for alternative source of energy using generators.

He added that, “The position of NERC that the sector requires substantial increase in tariff for investment to be possible is not tenable, so is the assurance that the working poor and rural poor   would not be adversely affected by the increase. Experience has shown that deregulation has never benefitted the Nigerian poor, rather the corporate class rip off the people.

The NLC said , “Despite claims of sensitising Nigerians, it is doubtful if the Commission has done a thorough job, as critical groups and majority of the people are at best confused about the new tariff regime, and the impact on their lives. Not even workers and their unions in the PHCN have been consulted.

Labour called  on the Federal government to put on hold any future increase in electricity tariff until all the issues raised against such move have been dealt with. “We reiterate our view that given the sleaze in the sector a few years ago, and the poor services underscored by epileptic power supply, as well as capacity deficit of regulators, the rational step should be to improve powersupply and distribution capacity, before a contemplated tariff review,”NLC said.

 

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