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Why we support electricity tariff hikes for Nigerians: Labour

New electricity tariff hikes were imposed on Nigerians from November 1.

• November 7, 2020
Ayuba Wabba
NLC president, Ayuba Wabba (Credit: Daily Post)

Organised labour has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government’s implementation of the revised Service Reflective Tariff policy (SRT), which came into force across the country on November 1. 

Nigeria’s power regulator, NERC, gave the go-ahead last Sunday to distribution companies to commence enforcement of the new price adjustments for different categories of customers.

Labour leader Ayuba Wabba has kept faith with the SRT, which replaces the suspended cost-reflective electricity tariff that saw the unit cost of power increase from N33 per kilowatt-hour to N66 kWh.

When asked Saturday on Labour’s stand on the Federal Government’s decision to keep up with the hike despite agitation from Nigerians, Mr. Wabba referred Peoples Gazette to a communique issued on October 11 by the junior labour minister, Festus Keyamo, after a protracted meeting with the union.

The Gazette learnt that although organised labour had succumbed to the hiked tariffs, they however sought a 10 percent reduction for customers under bands A, B and C — that is those with guaranteed minimum daily supply of between 12 to 20 hours.

The communique disclosed that the N10.20 per kWh tariff relief agreed by labour, which elapses on December 31, 2020, was projected to be funded by VAT proceeds from the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

Also included in what the communique tagged a “two-phase approach” in providing medium term solutions to customers, labour agreed to accelerate distribution of millions of free meters to Nigerians.

The immediate reliefs will be reviewed at the end of the year when the technical committee comprising representatives of the government, labour unions and DisCos conclude deliberations on the indices warranting the Service Based Tariff rates.

Mr. Wabba insists that labour has made commendable progress with the agreement.

“The issue is beyond just tariff, but the entire privatisation process which has failed, as well as issues surrounding gas and metering. If people think no progress has been made, we (organised labour) see it as progress”, the NLC president told the Gazette Saturday afternoon.

Many Nigerians have accused the DisCos of hiking their rates without implementing the announced 10 per cent discount for band A – C customers.

“I bought N1000 worth of electricity on November 3 and was surprisingly given 19 units instead of 34 units by the AEDC. This is really shocking”, an Abuja resident Frank Jaja told the Gazette.

Tariffs for band D and E customers remained frozen as agreed in the tripartite arrangement between government, labour and power distributors. The two categories capture customers who see a few hours of power or no supply at all in a day.

AEDC spokesman Oyebode Fadipe had, while announcing the tariff hike on November 1 said customers on bands A, B and C “will see some level of reduction in their tariff.”

Mr. Fadipe, however, did not specifically state what the “revised service tariff” would cost customers. The table of the payment has yet to be released on the agency’s website one week after.

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