NLC mobilises against hike in fuel, utility tariff, lauds Senate for intervention
Labour is mobilising its members and civil society allies for national protests, if the pump price of petrol, and tariffs on electricity and other utilities are increased.
President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, who stated this in Abuja yesterday, berated the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for remaining dormant to its responsibility of regulating the power sector.
His words: “NLC rejects any further hike in electricity tariff, pump price of petrol and other essential public utility charges. It is fully ready to mobilise people to resist attempt by anyone to impose modern-day slavery on Nigerians – be they Distribution Companies (DisCos) or regulators of public utilities.”
NLC insisted that further hike in tariff and user access charges at this time of great socio-economic dislocation would be ultra-insensitive, callous and a pre-meditated attempt to send many Nigerians to untimely graves.
Wabba maintained that in the interest of fairness, equity and justice, DisCos should refund Nigerians all the estimated billings that had been unjustly collected all these years.
The DisCos, he argued, should pay consumers the cost that their inefficiency imposed on citizens, residents and businesses.
He added: “DisCos must also repay bailout funds they had unjustly collected from public coffers. We wish to remind the DisCos that the provision of pre-paid meters, transformers and investment in the sector are statutorily their job, not consumers or government.”
It stated that the Senate’s intervention is only a reprieve to perennial increment of tariffs of public utilities, accusing NERC of maintaining deafening silence in the face of oppressive and obnoxious policies.
NLC also accused DisCos of grand deceit, seeking to hide under purported increase in power supply to hike tariffs that had always produced more darkness.
“In fact, each hike in electricity tariff in Nigeria is accompanied by quantum increase in the hours of darkness, de-metering of more Nigerians, exponential rise in incidences of estimated billing, increased burden on citizens for the procurement of equipment and facilities for public electricity supply amid other devious methods by DisCos to despoil poor Nigerians. These concerns were raised by labour leaders during an interactive session with NERC on March 10, 2020.”