The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has expressed disappointment over the latest hike in electricity tariff, describing is as a betrayal of trust.
The union in a statement by its President and Secretary-General, Quadri Olaleye, and Musa-Lawal Ozigi, respectively, said: “We are disappointed by the recent hike in electricity tariff, while negotiations were ongoing with the Organised Labour on the last hike because of the untold hardship it has brought on the workers and Nigerians as a whole. Sometimes we wonder why this government espouses unfriendly policies that are capable of crippling the economy. There are many companies that have either closed shops or relocated to neighbouring countries because they cannot afford to pay the last tariff hike, yet this government has done another one. Does it mean there is no other way this government can creatively generate revenue?.”
TUC said that it has become obvious that the outrages from the Organised Labour and the masses, and the series of negotiations they had with the government were just cosmetic and hypocritical. “There is so much deceit and laziness in the system. There is hardly any promise made that they have followed through…How can the government go ahead to increase tariff again when we have not resolved the one done earlier? This is preposterous, ridiculous and sheer wickedness. We have been labelled what we are not because we want a peaceful industrial atmosphere. The economy was struggling before the outbreak of the pandemic and we thought it was wise not to worsen our situation, “TUC said.
The union called on the government to be responsible for once. “How many people can afford to pay the last bill, talk less of this recent one? The Organised Labour should not be pushed to the wall because it will actually do all no good. Government must revert to the old price or be willing to accept the outcome of this decision. This is a betrayal of trust and it is unfortunate,” TUC added.
There was a national outcry, on Tuesday, when a 50% increase in electricity tariff was announced. The Federal Government denied the report. However, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) later admitted that there was an increase of 4%. NERC had in a release said: “in compliance with the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPRSA) and the nation’s tariff methodology for biannual minor review, the rates for service bands A, B, C, D and E have been adjusted by N2.00 to N4.00 per kWhr to reflect the partial impact of inflation and movement in foreign exchange rates.”
Denying earlier reports that 50 per cent increase had been approved for electricity tariff, NERC said tariff for customers on service bands D & E (customers being served less than an average of 12hrs of supply per day over a period of one month) remained frozen and subsidised in line with the policy direction of the Federal Government.