Last updateMon, 07 Jul 2014 9am

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TUC condemns hike in electricity tariff

TRADE Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) last week expressed surprise over the hike in electricity tariff, despite the near-zero performance by electricity distribution and generation companies (discos and Gencos) six months after privatization, even as it declared its readiness to resist the hike saying, “for now we call on all workers and other Nigerians to gird their loins in readiness to resist the planned increase if the Government attempts to implement.” 
In a statement, the President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Secretary General, Comrade Musa Lawal, TUC stated that it was shocked to hear the recent announcement on plans by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to increase electricity tariff from June 1, 2014.
“To us the move is queer and uncalled for and another deliberate attempt by a cabal to further exploit the already impoverished masses of the country, especially as the power supply and distribution situation has remained comatose even after the privatization of the sector, contrary to the federal government's promise to tackle the inherent challenges.
According to the leadership of the Union, "We find it indefensible that the government has apparently concluded plans to increase the tariffs instead of prevailing on private sector electricity providers to increase power supply and distribution in the country. Need we remind ourselves of the demise of many industries within the last few years?  Need we list out the multitude of companies that have either gone under or fled the country because of high cost of generating power for their plants?
Or shall we tender statistics of the millions of Nigerians who are jobless and many of whom have taken to vices that create insecurity in our land? We are particularly sad by the fact that although the power sector has gulped billions of naira, the country still appears hopelessly trapped in a vicious circle of un-productivity and lack of adequate power supply, essentially because of the insincerity and corrupt practices of our ogas at the top.”
NERC recently announced that electricity cost will increase by N1 per kilowatt for customers in R2 category from next month, and that the electricity Fixed Charge (FC) which was to rise to N1,500 from June 1, in the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) for 2014 will remain at N750 for some customers. “We were further told that some positive variables triggered the significant changes in the proposed tariff regime. For instance, whilst MYTO in 2012 had projected a 13 percent inflation rate, it was at 7.8 per cent by March 30, a difference of 5.2 per cent.  Also, exchange rate of $1 to N178 from CBN data was 11.6 per cent less than the projected, at N157.30 per $1 as at 30th March.”
TUC noted that “the truth of the matter is that most Nigerians are indifferent to all these terms. All they desire is stable and affordable power supply.  Incidentally, since 1st November, 2013 when the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was ceded to 18 successor firms, electricity generation in the country has revolved around 3,000mw.

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