The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) yesterday faulted the recent comment credited to the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola, on the recent increment of electricity tariff by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), saying his position is dictatorial.
The Congress, in a statement by its President, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama and Secretary General, Barrister Musa Lawal, said the minister’s argument that an Act of the National Assembly actually empowers the Commission to increase tariff and that the Act cannot be tampered with even by the federal parliament, is certainly very lame, too simplistic and misleading.
The TUC further warned Fashola and NERC to stop the enforcement of the obnoxious Act.
The new tariff known as the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2.1 took off on February 1, 2016.
The TUC said: “Any Act that preys on the masses that it is supposed to protect negates public policy. Any Act that compels the citizens to pay for services not delivered is not only flawed and undemocratic but ultra vires the power of the Assembly to make laws for the good of the country, and should not enjoy any applicability. Any Act that further impoverishes the downtrodden and lowly is evil and should be discountenanced. We lend our voice again to advocate the need for the minister and NERC to stop trying to enforce the obnoxious Act.
“It is high time the minister and proponents of the tariff increase are reminded that one of the major reasons Nigerians demanded a change of leadership in May 2015 was so they could heave a sigh of relief. A major expectation was that we would, for once, stop paying for services that are not rendered. We never anticipated that the already fraudulent billing system would be made worse. We saw no NERC/FASHOLAGATE in the horizon!”
The Congress, therefore, opposed the new tariff on grounds that Section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act 2005 was violated, as there has been no significant improvement in service delivery.
It also cited a subsisting court order dated 28th May, 2015 by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos which stopped the implementation of the tariff hike.