Protests against tariff hike may sabotage Nigeria’s economic growth – ANED

*Electricity distribution sub station.

*Electricity distribution sub station.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

07 February 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors, ANED, a body representing the eleven electricity distribution companies, Discos, operating in the country, has said the planned protests by some sections of the public, and especially members of the organised labour, against recent increases in electricity tariff would amount to economic sabotage.

Responding to plans by the labour unions to picket their operational headquarters across the country over recent review and increases in electricity rates in the country, the Discos said that such plan could be dangerous to the country’s economic growth as labour may be leading Nigerians to play into the hands of people who benefit from inadequate public power supply in the country

According to a statement, Sunday, signed by ANED’s Executive Director for Research and Advocacy, Sunday Oduntan, the country’s power sector now has an opportunity to grow its investment portfolio if the the new cost reflective tariffs which labour is against is allowed to run through its course.

It stated, “We are appealing to organised labour and fellow compatriots to please join hands with the federal government and the power sector, as we continue to work to improve the supply of electricity in the country.”

Oduntan added that, “Grievances that we have against the system that has functioned poorly over the last 50 years should not be transferred to operators who have put their investment at risk and are working hard to inject capital and entrepreneurial expertise into turning around the sector, for the greater good of the Nigerian electricity customer.”

ANED, therefore, cautioned Nigerians and particularly members of Nigeria’s organised labour led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) against conceding their platform for use to sabotage the country’s economy by people who they said benefit from the country’s epileptic public electricity supply.

The Discos’ body added that, on their part, they were also making huge business sacrifices to stabilise electricity supply in Nigeria.

The NLC announced plans to picket offices of Discos in the country on Monday (today) over the reviewed retail electricity prices. Labour in its condemnation of the tariff said it was a rip off on Nigerians.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who made the announcement, stressed that the protest would be total across the 36 states of the federation.

According to Wabba, “We the members of the NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC), civil society allies and electricity consumers across the country will protest against the 45 per cent increase in the tariff of electricity as announced by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on February 8, 2016.

“It is a nation-wide protest, meaning that the 36 states of the federation including Abuja will be involved in this action. Our members have been sufficiently mobilised and are ready to go. If you are an electricity consumer and you are not happy with the bills electricity companies serve you every month, you are invited to join this protest rally.”

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