ActionAid Nigeria, a nongovernmental organisation, has decried the reported directive of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to increase their tariffs as from September 1, 2021.
ActionAid Country Director, Ene Obi, who stated this to journalists on Tuesday, in Lagos, added that the increase in tariff will further erode the purchasing power of Nigerian workers, in formal and informal sectors, as well as further impoverish more Nigerians.
“The increase in electricity tariff is not only ill-timed but insensitive to the precarious plight of Nigerians whose lean disposable incomes are already decapitated,” Ms Obi said.
She observed that the previous hike in electricity tariffs had not translated into effective and regulatory strategies, to manage the impact of such hikes on macro-economic indices affecting end-users that are currently economically crippled and trapped.
Ms Obi reminded the federal government “that more than a hundred million Nigerians are living below the poverty line”, saying that instead of the tariff hike, NERC should compel all the actors in the Nigerian electricity supply industry, to ensure increased efficiency in the power sector.
“This should include managing energy loses to make erratic power supply a thing of the past, as a way of boosting productivity and Nigeria’s GDP.
“We urge NERC to rescind this decision and ensure that the Nigerian electricity supply industry improves its performance, before considering a tariff increase,” she said.
She equally said that if the purported decision was not reconsidered, the cost of production of basic items produced in the country would also increase, in addition to possible job losses in the already ailing medium and small-scale enterprises sector in Nigeria.
Similarly, she noted that investors, who rely largely on power supply, would obviously not be able to break even.
“To remain afloat, they will have to shift the burden of increased cost of production to the final consumers of their products and services, in an economy already choked by inflation.”
Ene, therefore, called on the NERC and the Federal Government to halt the planned electricity tariff increment and uphold its values of transparency, fairness, and accountability, by ensuring continuous consultation with the masses while protecting consumer rights. (NAN)
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