18 February 2015, Awka -Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, has raised alarm that no fewer than 600 companies in Enugu and Ebonyi states may fold up if Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, implements the recent 94 percent hike in electricity tariff for companies in the South-East geo-political zone.
Rising from a meeting at the premises of Innoson Manufacturing Company, Nnewi, yesterday, MAN warned that should the companies close down, over one million workers stood the risk of losing their jobs directly and indirectly.
The body argued that there was no basis for the discriminatory tariff for companies across the country, if the authorities meant well for the nation’s industrial and economic growth.
Between EEDC and Eko DC
In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting, MAN wondered why EEDC should increase tariff by 94.6 percent when that of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, for instance, was increased by only 22 percent.
Chairman of MAN in the zone, Chief Azubuike Okafor, said: “The rate should be the same across the federation. If this increase is allowed, it will discourage investment in the South-East as investors will prefer other areas where the tariff is very low.
“If the rate is not reversed, companies in the South-East geo-political zone will shut down or relocate to other areas, with its attendant consequences of job losses in the zone. It is impossible for any of our members to cope with the increase.
Effect on competition
“We are competing with other parts of the country and if we are to pay the new rate, it shows that somebody somewhere is trying to close down industries in this part of the country.
“We know we have a listening government, which would not want employed Nigerians to lose their jobs in the face of the growing unemployment and that is why this increase must be reversed.”
The body also frowned at the continued payment of fixed charge, which it said was akin to “payment for inefficiency because all the companies run on generators more than on electricity.”
He urged EEDC to allow its members to continue to pay the old tariff, warning that any attempt to disconnect them over the new tariff would do more harm than good.