…Demanding reversal of power sector privatisation
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has commended the Senate for calling off the threat by Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to hike the electricity tariff and also demanding reversal of Nigeria’s power sector privatisation programme.
In a statement sent to the Daily Times, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said that those bent on cornering our choice national assets for next to nothing and using same to unleash unfair, inequitable and unjust tariff regime on the Nigerian public, are not relenting.
He said that they are planning a rebound even as he said that a number of public and private institutions are tempted to follow the ignominious path of DisCos in flogging their fellow compatriots with scourges of scorpion.
Also, he revealed that hiding under this COVID-19, there are plans by airport authorities, airlines, banks and others to hike user access and services charges, adding that some of these charges are already in play.
“It is very unfortunate that these public utilities tariff increases including the lifting of price cap on refined petroleum products especially the premium motor spirit is coming at a time when Nigerians are going through some of the worst socio-economic vicissitudes as occasioned by the novel corona virus disease (Covid-19).
“A few hours before the DisCos unveiled their intention to afflict Nigerians with the most outrageous tariff hike in our history of public utility charges, millions of jobless and poor Nigerians were scrambling for a space in the N-Power Social Support portal.
This reinforces the fact that majority of Nigerians including workers and pensioners are going through very hard times. Certainly, this is not the time for any conscientious private sector organization or public institution to contemplate any hike of essential goods and services,
“On the recent attempt by DisCos acting under the auspices of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) to unilaterally increase electricity tariff by about 100% frbrjuly 2020, the Nigeria Labour Congress had described the move as insensitive and provocative.
Nigerians would recall that a similar move was made in March 2020 by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) but was successfully rebuffed by the NLC and the Nigerian public.
“The difference this time is that the regulated organizations (DisCos) are now the ones dictating to the regulatory institution (NERC) when and how they wish to impose on Nigerians astronomical hike in electricity tariff.
This is most unfortunate. The silence of NERC on this matter bellows louder than the obscene and hollow threat by DISCOS to make life even more difficult for Nigerians who are still grappling with the socioeconomic dislocations occasioned by the insurgency of the novel corona virus disease (Covid-19).”
Recalling a statements credited to the Executive Director of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), the umbrella body of DisCos in Nigeria, Sunday Oduntan, where he admitted that the “there will be change compared to five years ago. But don’t expect 24 hours of electricity. There is no increase in generation. Have you heard of increase in transmission?
These are the issues. There is a need for realignment. As long as we have people who are not metered, as long as we have staff who are cheating, as long as we have Nigerians who are not willing to pay for energy, then we will continue to have problems”.
Wabba said that on the strength of the open admission by DisCos in Nigeria to their own grand incompetence and crass failure, Federal Government should immediately set in motion processes for the review of the power sector privatisation.
“What a grand admission of failure! What impunity!! What a way to take Nigerians for granted!!! This is truly the height of insults by DisCos on Nigerian electricity consumers.
It is not enough that DisCos cheat Nigerians out of their hard-labored income through exorbitant costs of pre-paid meters, refusal to install pre-paid meters, and the imposition of estimated billings. Now, the DisCos are adding mockery to the insults!” said Wabba.