10 February 2016, Sweetcude, Lagos – Organised labour, under the umbrella of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has alleged breach of due process in the introduction of the recent 45 per cent hike in electricity tariff in the country.
The new tariff took off on February 1 amid public outcry and opposition by organised labour, which called for a national protest against the tariff hike, is opposed to the increase because “due process in the extant laws for such increment was not followed in consonance with section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act, 2005”.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who made the disclosed as he rallied workers for the national protest, said: “There has been no significant improvement in service delivery. Moreover, the fact is that most consumers are not metered in accordance with the signed privatisation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of November 1, 2013, which stipulates that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers are to be metered.
“There is a subsisting court order dated May 28, 2015, by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, in the case of Toluwani Yemi-Adebiyi versus NERC and others, that there shall be no further increment until the determination of the substantive suit.”
The NLC boss explained further that, “The increment at this time negates the present biting and prevailing economic recession vis-a-vis an attempt to further impoverish the poor masses”.
He explained that labour decided to protest the increase after all efforts to make NERC shelve the idea of increase failed. “Indeed, rather than see reason with Nigerians, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing has been advancing spurious argument in justification,” Wabba stated.
He alleged that “Distribution companies have continued to exploit Nigerians by estimated billing system for the majority of consumers, while deliberately refusing to make available prepaid metres.
“We also said the challenges in the economy which have adversely reduced the purchasing power of ordinary Nigerians and slowed down businesses including manufacturing have made this increase unsustainable and unjustifiable.
“We reached out to core government constituencies including the Minister of Power, the leadership of the National Assembly and NERC, all in an effort to find an amicable resolution through the quality of the logic of argument and practical realities on ground which include the incontrovertible fact that even before this increment, Nigeria paid the highest tariff per kilo-watt in Africa and contiguous regions. We pay much higher than Egypt and countries with stronger economies.”
The NLC president argued that “with the increment, this disparity will not only be substantial, it will kill Nigerians and businesses”.
The saddest part of it all is that there is no co-relation between the quality of service delivery and this tariff, he further argued, adding that the implementation of the tariff is an