NLC Kicks Against Planned Increase In Electricity Tariff

The Nigeria Labour Congress has kicked against the proposed plan by the Federal Government to increase electricity tariff by 40 per cent on July 1.

NLC made this known in a statement signed by its President, Joseph Ajaero, on Thursday.

Ajaero described the plan to increase electricity tariffs as insensitive, callous and reflects an organized indifference to the well-being of consumers, particularly the poor ones.

Ajaero, in the statement, said, “The massive increase is explained away as a response to the over 100 per cent increase in the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS).

“Details reveal a movement in inflation from 16.9% to 22.41 (threatening to needle 30), and a shift in exchange rate from N441 to N750.

“We believe not even these figures are a justification for this reckless proposed tariff increase. The issue of capacity to pay and quality of service delivery is not only germane but superior to any rationalisation by market logic.

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“The service providers in spite of sundry support have not been able to meet the threshold of 5000 megawatts. Coupled with this, there have been surreptitious increases without notice in violation of statutes.

“The inherent risk in the new regime of tariff is that there is no control, implying that by August, consumers will pay new rates. The other risk is that by the time other products or service-rendering entities come up with their new prices or rates, the ordinary person would have been compacted into dust.

“We would want to advise apostles of the Market who have called NLC all sorts of names to check their conscience.

“The rate at which they are going is highly combative and combustible. With the contemplation of payment of school fees in tertiary institutions and increases in privately-owned ones in addition to other costs/tariffs on the way, life in Nigeria could truly be Hobbesian.

“The market economies which the Market Fundamentalists seek to emulate, have in place socio-economic safeguards which we do not have.

“In light of this, our advice is that this proposed tariff hike should be shelved for our collective safety.”