Labour threatens to ground power sector over new tariff
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to ground the power sector to resist the implementation of the new electricity tariff by the Distribution Companies (DisCos).
President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who described the hike as dead on arrival, said the congress would mobilise Nigerian workers to resist the increase.
He condemned the alleged “deaf and dumb” posture of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), urging the agency to take decisive action on plans by the DisCos to increase tariffs.
He lamented that each hike in electricity tariff in the country was trailed by a huge leap in hours of darkness, de-metering of more Nigerians, and exponential rise in incidences of estimated billing.
In a statement, Wabba said: “We state that the NLC seriously frowns at, completely condemns and totally rejects any plan to inflict further pain on Nigerians at this very time of great economic distress.
“The new dribble by the Abuja DisCo is dead on arrival as it will be resisted by the Nigerian working class and people. The other DisCos should not bother putting their ships of exploitation to sail.
“It is important to put it on record that the NERC will be putting its name on the wrong side of history if it continues to play the ostrich while a group of portfolio investors makes a blood meal of Nigerians.”
MEANWHILE, the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has cautioned against the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), asking banks to take over electricity bills collection from the DisCos, describing it as a misplaced priority.
In a statement by the General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, NUEE said “the implementation of the directive at this period is not only ill-timed but counterproductive, owing to the operational and overhead cost challenges it portends.”
The union argued that the CBN is not a regulatory body for the power sector and has very minute knowledge about its operations, and so cannot issue directives in a sector where it lacks expertise.
NUEE expressed concern that since the privatisation of the power sector on November 1, 2013, not much has been done towards ensuring that electricity consumers are issued prepaid meters to properly account and justify payments being made for energy consumed, rather than the estimated billing system which has further placed a huge financial burden on Nigerians.
According to the union, the CBN directive would further increase the unemployment index, which the current administration is working assiduously to prone down.
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