The TUC said the tariff hike is anti-people and anti-labour.
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has rejected the increase in electricity tariff announced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC on Monday.
The congress stated this in a statement on Wednesday signed by its National President and Secretary-General, Bobboi Kaigama and Musa Lawal, respectively.
It described the tariff hike as anti-people and anti-labour and said the move was another deliberate attempt to exploit the already impoverished masses of the country.
The congress said that the power supply and distribution situation in the country had remained comatose, in spite of the privatisation of the sector by the Federal Government, contrary to the promise to tackle the inherent challenges.
The commission had announced an upward tariff review of between N1 and N3 per unit of electricity for R2 consumers, and a reduction by an average of about N750 of monthly fixed charge under the Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO, for 2014. The new tariff regime takes effect from June 1.
The TUC said it found it indefensible that the government decided to increase the tariff instead of prevailing on the private sector electricity providers to increase power generation and distribution in the country.
Lack of steady electricity supply, the congress noted, had led to the demise of many industries within the last few years, while multitude of companies had gone under or fled the country to other destinations.
“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 congress said.
Though the congress said NERC had claimed that some positive variables triggered the tariff review, it expressed disappointment that this was not in favour of the consumers.
“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,” it stated.
The TUC said since November 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 megawatts, MWs only.
It stated that the daily operational reports of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN power generation had dropped from 4,105 MW in April to 3,674 MW as at May 24, 2014, adding that it was clear that the private sector investors had not performed.
Rather than make efforts to improve the level of power generation and supply, the Congress said the power companies were determined to impose higher tariffs on helpless Nigerians who were already paying exorbitant bills for power they did not consume.
It advised NERC 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,” the TUC said.
It called on all Nigerian workers and other Nigerians to be prepared to resist the announced increase.