NLC Says No To Hike In Electricity Tariff, Subsidy Removal | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NLC Says No To Hike In Electricity Tariff, Subsidy Removal

Posted: Dec 23, 2015 at 11:43 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

*says privatisation of power must be reviewed

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday rejected the newly introduced electricity tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Agency (NERC), describing it as worrisome and unacceptable.

NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who briefed journalists in Abuja after the emergency Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting of NLC, said the Congress would not accept any tariff that would make Nigerians pay more for the electricity they did not consume.

The organised labour said that the abolition of fixed charges and estimated bill was long overdue, adding that prepaid meters must be made available to every Nigerian before the Electricity Distribution Company (DISCO) can talk of new tariff. “Upward review of electricity tariff is rejected out rightly. Prepaid meters must be made available while estimated bill should be stopped.

The whole privatisation of the National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) should be reviewed otherwise the labour would mobilise and do the needful,” he said.

He argued that the privatisation of the power sector has failed to deliver on the mandate for which it was privatised, calling on the Federal Government to review the process of the privatisation. Wabba said that labour was prepared to mobilise against the new tariff. He stated that NLC would leave no stone unturned to ensure that Nigerians are not made to pay for what they did not consume. His words: “The issue of other charges outside consumption charges is illegal. The removal of fixed charges is long overdue.

But increasing the charges when the power is not stable is not acceptable. “Lack of meters is inefficiency because the reason for privatisation has not been met and it has not been delivered on its mandate. Nigerians have been deceived.

Our resources have been used for privatisation and they were given bailout. I have seen the template, they want to increase tariff every year.” Speaking on the calls for the removal of fuel subsidy, the NLC President maintained that Nigeria should not continue to import petroleum products. He argued that the Federal Government should ensure that the nation’s refineries were working so that crude oil can be refined locally.

“What we are demanding for which is clear is that we should benefit from the falling price of crude oil but because we are an import dependent nation we are not benefitting.

Why must we continue to import and have subsidy in place? If we are not importing, by now we should be paying lower. We remain consistent on those positions,” Wabba added.

He said the CWC also discussed the argument of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to reduce the N18,000 national minimum wage. According to him, the governors do not have the right to tinker with the workers’ salaries as it can only be done through the National Assembly. Wabba said labour would mobilise against all state governments that are owning workers’ salary arrears.