Tariff reduction: MAN demands refund of excess charges by DISCOS

Electric meters

Electric meters

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

25 March 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has commended the federal government for the downward review of electricity tariff by 50 percent.

The association, however, called on the government to mandate the distribution companies to refund the additional charges they had been collecting from consumers over the years.

Speaking with journalists in her office in Abuja, the chairperson of the association, Abuja Chapter, Dr Wasilat Asabe Shittu, noted that the step taken by the government was in the right direction.

She said, “The downward review of the tariff is an indication that government has listening ears. This has been MAN’s advocacy in the past few weeks when tariff suddenly soared by over a 100 per cent.

“With this reduction, we have been vindicated because what we were actually paying was not a true reflection of the quantum of electricity consumption.”

Shittu observed that “since the distribution companies have admitted that they have been fleecing consumers, the honourable thing to do is to make a refund to those who have been paying the bills, withdraw subsisting bill and reconnect consumers that have been disconnected for non payment of the controversial bills.

“This would assuage the feelings of consumers and restore people’s confidence on the DISCOs.”

The MAN boss noted that such excessive charges may have run into billions of naira over the past couple of years.

She sid, “If you take a critical look at what the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) was saying, those who were paying their bills were actually subsidising for those that were not paying.

“What this means is that for paying your bills promptly you were punished and made to pay the bill of those that were not paying,” she said.

According to Dr Shittu, “I am of the view that such incidences abound in other areas of the Nigeria economy as a result of weak regulation.This impacts us negatively because as manufacturers we bear a lot of tax burdens which ordinarily should be spread tin if everybody live up to their responsibility of paying their taxes as and when due.

“What i am saying here is that government should look at the tax regime imposed on manufacturers with a view to lightening our tax burden so that we can boost our productive capacity and employ more people.

“The tax regime should be streamlined a situation whereby you are made to pay sundry taxes to the local, states and federal government does not augur well for the manufacturing sector,” she said.

She added that, “We are happy with the new development and would continue to put pressure on relevant government agencies to ensure that the right policies that would boost the manufacturing sector of the Nigeria economy are put in place.”

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