THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has demanded the immediate reversal of the 100% increase in electricity tariff and threatened that if the federal government fails to do so it would embark on an industrial action.
In an undated press release signed by Comrade Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, and made available to National Record Tuesday night, the NLC said failure by the government “to quickly withdraw this uncanny New Year Gift” would be met by an “unprecedented industrial resistance by Nigerian workers” although the statement did not give any specific timeframe for the intended industrial action.
Comrade Wabba, who emphatically stated that “Nigerians have bled enough already” and “We will bleed no more,” also lambasted the government saying that the tariff hike not only violated the agreement between organised labour and the government in September 2020 but also “will further imperil the Nigerian economy as it will lead to the loss of millions of jobs by Nigerian workers and trigger wider social discomfitures.”
Wabba said the Congress is also bothered by the double speak in the NERC statement that announced the hike in tariff. “In one breath, NERC denied any new increase in tariff. In another breath, it announced that electricity tariff would be adjusted from N2 per kilowatt/hour to N4 per kilowatt/hour – a 100% tariff increase. The statement in quick reversals also lumped consumers in Band D and E under the new tariff. This volte face is contrary to our agreement with government which excluded Band D and E from further increases in electricity tariff. This clearly paints a picture of deliberate mission by government to hoodwink and take Nigerians for a ride,” he said.
The full statement:
NIGERIANS HAVE BLED ENOUGH! REVERSE THE INCREASE IN ELECTRICITY TARIFF IMMEDIATELY!!
A Press Release
While Nigerians were trying to embrace the warmth of the New Year, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in its ‘wisdom’ decided to slam the country with the cold hug of yet another astronomical increase in electricity tariff. This increase would be the umpteenth time in a space of less than one year.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) vehemently condemns this attempt to start Year 2021 for Nigerians on the grinding stone. It is even colder that this tariff increase was announced without recourse to the negotiation process that the government and Organized Labour in Nigeria signed up to about three months ago. The representatives of Organized Labour in the committees set up during negotiation with government to engage on issues in our electricity and petroleum sectors heard of this insensitive hike from the media like other Nigerians. This is indeed a stellar performance in negotiation in bad faith by the Federal Government. This is completely unacceptable to the working people of Nigeria.
It is very awful and indeed cruel for government to introduce yet another killer electricity tariff amidst the soaring inflation and poverty rates in the country. This hike also comes in the face of the renewed onslaught of COVID-19 where workers and citizens expend their meagre resources on healthcare both for preventive and therapeutic response to the renewed COVID-19 challenge.
We really fear for the impact of this new increase on manufacturing in Nigeria. Certainly, the producers of “Made-in-Nigeria” goods and services will find it greatly difficult to cope with this new tariff. Before now, many manufacturing concerns and Small to Medium Enterprises were already reeling in great strain as a result of the negative growth occasioned by the first wave of the COVID pandemic in 2020. There is no gainsaying the fact that this tariff hike would sound the death knell for many manufacturing outfits in Nigeria as many of them would resort to either mass lay-off of workers and or direct importation of finished goods.
Finally, we are bothered by the double speak in the NERC communiqué announcing this hike in tariff. In one breath, NERC denied any new increase in tariff. In another breath, it announced that electricity tariff would be adjusted from N2 per kilowatt/hour to N4 per kilowatt/hour – a 100% tariff increase. The statement in quick reversals also lumped consumers in Band D and E under the new tariff. This volte face is contrary to our agreement with government which excluded Band D and E from further increases in electricity tariff. This clearly paints a picture of deliberate mission by government to hoodwink and take Nigerians for a ride.
Overall, this increase in electricity tariff apart from negating the agreement we reached with government in September 2020 will further imperil our local economy, lead to the loss of millions of jobs by Nigerian workers and trigger wider social discomfitures.
In light of the heightened burden that this hike in electricity tariff imposes on Nigerian workers and people, we urge the Federal Government to quickly withdraw this uncanny New Year Gift or face an unprecedented industrial resistance by Nigerian workers. Nigerians have bled enough already. We will bleed no more!
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni