Tariff increase: Senate President assures labour of NASS’ protection

Kunle Kalejaye 17 February 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has reiterated that Nigerians must not suffer at the hand of corporations that seek to make profit without delivering on their services.

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Saraki addressing protesting NLC members at the National Assembly complex, Abuja

Saraki stated this while addressing a delegation from the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, who visited the National Assembly, NASS, in Abuja to protest the recent 45 percent increase in electricity tariff n the country.

The Senate President reassured the protesting unions that the National Assembly would do everything in its power to ensure Nigerians do not suffer as a result of the development.
The NLC and TUC had last week shut down offices of the electricity distribution companies or DISCOs across the country over the tariff increase introduced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission  NERC.
Minister of Power, Housing and Works, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, had in reaction to the development appealed to the labour unions not to use their protest to disrupt the gains of the power sector reforms.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 2nd Monthly Sectoral Meeting of Power Sector Operators in Lagos, Fashola said that “It is important to state that the stability we enjoy in the market is comforting and we must do everything to protect it.
“That stability is giving confidence to the banks, to gas suppliers and investors, to generation companies (Gencos) and others. A lot of people are coming into Nigeria that they want to participate in power sector and it is because of the stability that the government and leadership of the President (Muhammadu Buhari) have provided since they came.
“Importantly, I understand that people have been disappointed over a long time. You feel a sense of concern that again tariffs have gone up but the truth is that this tariff ought to have been there from inception. I didn’t know why the government of yesterday was not concerned enough to tell us this was the price”.
The Minister added that given this scenario, the government was left with no choice but to review tariff.
He stated that the transmission aspect of the peer sector was undergoing transformation. “We are fixing transmission. People are not investing in gas, they are just beginning to show interest. It will get better and I can only appeal for some understanding and some trust that we do this in the best interest in the nation,” he said.
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