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Electricity tariffs imbroglio




ELECTRICITY tariffs vis-a vis increase in premium motor spirit(PMS) by the Federal Government which Nigerians massively rose up against last year, may not have been settled following the latest astronomical increase approved by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission(NERC).

THE tariffs hike which sparked off nationwide uproar last September, and which prompted the setting up of a committee to review the hike, appears to have gone ahead while the committee is yet to conclude its work. NERC appears to be in a hurry having approved hike ranging from 10%-121%.

HOWEVER, as it is expected, the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), Operators of the private sectors(OPS), Trade Union Congress(TUC), National Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Civil society organizations (CISLAC and others),have variously condemned the tariffs increase, stating reasons of betrayal, wrong timing, would impede growth of the real sector. Indeed, the PDP condemned it too, saying such a move would further worsen the hardship Nigerian masses are already going through.

PRESIDENCY on her part is denying a tariff hike of 50% as not being true. Can NERC single-handedly make such increase without the input of the Government? What has happened to dialogue earlier initiated and which led to establishment of committee? Has the PMB government become so insensitive and impervious to reasoning on the going reality affecting most nations of the world?

REASONS advanced by virtually all the stakeholders are germane, as they are worth considering by the Federal Government to suspend any increase of any sort at this material time. The same government that has given reason for the nation’s slide back to recession to the global pandemic, on the other hand is failing to consider the plight of its citizenry. That is an irony!

WE have said it before, and would say it again, that occupants of transient power should be persons who should be empathetic to the living conditions of its citizens; because that is the reason they are entrusted with the onus of governance. As a result, the welfare of the people must as necessity be uppermost in the scheme of things.

THE earlier government stops playing on the intelligence of Nigerians, the better the atmosphere of trust and industrial harmony. If truth be told, the timing for such a move is simply wrong. COVID-19 has had a terrible toll on the income of most Nigerians; thousands of jobs have been lost; unemployment and poverty has continued to be a thing of great concern. Insisting on increases of VAT, electricity tariffs, and the pump price of petrol and others is simply ill advised.

GOVERNMENT must never allow any altercation with Labour unions and the organized private sector, as permitting that may further worsen the epileptic economy that is already in recession which will be detrimental to the entire political economy.

FOR NERC, it should at this period encourage the DisCos to make sure they provide and mount meters for consumers without meters.

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