NLC worries over review, hike in power tariffs

NLC flag15 July 2013, Abuja – Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, weekend, expressed concern over incessant and exorbitant review of electricity tariff by Federal Government.

It called on the government to direct Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to urgently review downward the entire multi- year tariff structure in the interest of Nigerians.

NLC, in a statement by its President, Abdulwahhed Omar, expressed shock that the tariff had arbitrarily been increased from N225 to over N700, even without steady power supply.

The statement read: “This review, whether done suddenly or in advance, is without justification or rationale and stand condemned as it will negate whatever gains expected to be recorded by the much vaunted reform in the power sector.

“Congress believes that the multi-year tariff structure as designed by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, tacitly approved by government, only protects the interest of investors in the power sector and has little or no consideration for consumers, most of whom are poor and incapable of paying.”

“It is exploitative and saddening that these mindless reviews are not accompanied by commensurate improved services. If anything, electricity service delivery has plummeted over the years with consumers compelled to pay exorbitant tariff rates for incompetence, poor service and fraud.

“Judging from the yearly percentage increase (which covers a fifteen year period in the first instance), it is predictable that less than ten percent of the present consumers will be able to pay these outrageous tariffs in the next few years.

“The consequences of structuring electricity tariffs that are unreasonable and unaffordable have grave implications for the economy and the people. This is a sad commentary on the power reform process, as it speaks volumes about its transparency, viability and ability to deliver in the interest of the nation.”

NLC argued that a viable power sector was key to revamping and repositioning the economy, stressing that nothing should be done to undermine this objective.

It added, however, that “a reform process which does not carry along its people or protect their interest has only one direction to go – the abyss – and stands condemnable.”

– Victor Ahiuma-Young, Vanguard.

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