Labour opposes planned increase in electricity tariff
• To mobilise for nationwide protests
The Nigeria labour Congress (NLC) has opposed the proposed increase in the electricity tariff across the country.This is even as it has mobilised its members nationwide to resist any form of increase by the Distribution Companies (DisCos), and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), warning them to retract their steps.
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who spoke in Lagos, said the increase is to further impoverish Nigerians, stressing that it would not solve the challenge in the sector, and would not bring about the much-needed efficiency. He maintained that tariff increase cannot be the answer to power failure in Nigeria, rather it would lead to job losses and many businesses are going to close shop, vowing that labour would not allow this to happen.
He said that Federal Government instead of supporting the DisCos on increasing electricity tariff should come out boldly to let Nigerians know if the privatisation of the sector has failed.
“We have organisations that can run it effectively, we should be saved from all these traumas,” he added.He said presently that no worker in Nigeria can be able to pay more for electricity, wondering how much out of the new wage of N30,000 can be spared for electricity.
Wabba also noted that the increase in value added tax (VAT) on electricity bill to consumers is a double jeopardy and clearly a form of exploitation, “as no meters are provided and when provided they are not durable, and the Discos just charge consumers as they like. So you see that consumers are at the receiving end of paying for light not provided.” he stated. He said the union would not attend any of the public hearing by the DisCos, noting that only the NERC has the responsibility to organise such forums.
“Actually, we are going to the meeting with facts and figures of how many companies that have gone into extinction due to the problem of power, and how many people would go should there be any increase.“We have a report from Action Aid on how many companies have closed down, and this we are ready to share with them at our meeting with NERC for them to know that we are talking from a knowledgeable background,” Wabba said.
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