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HomeTechnologyElectricity Price Hike: FG, TUC Head For Showdown As NERC Denies 50%...

Electricity Price Hike: FG, TUC Head For Showdown As NERC Denies 50% Hike

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By Babajide Okeowo

Commercial activities in Nigeria may soon be grounded if the Trade Union Congress, TUC makes good its threat to embark on an industrial action if the Federal Government does not revert to the old price.

The congress in a strongly worded statement warned the FG to revert to the old price or face the consequences while describing the action as ‘wicked’ and ‘another betrayal of trust’ coming in the middle of ongoing negotiations by the FG and the organised labour on the November 1, 2020 hike.

In a statement by the TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, and the Secretary-General, Musa Lawal, titled, ‘Electricity hike: Another betrayal of trust’, the congress wondered “why this government espouses unfriendly policies that are capable of crippling the economy.”

The TUC said the government should not push the organised labour to the wall with its harsh policies.

“You don’t just churn out policies without weighing the pros and cons. How many people can afford to pay the last bill to talk less of this recent one? The organised labour should not be pushed to the wall because it will actually do all no good. The government must revert to the old price or be willing to accept the outcome of this decision.

This is a betrayal of trust and it is unfortunate” the statement reads

in part.

The congress noted that it had become the butt of jokes among Nigerians because it was reluctant to launch an offensive on account of the poor state of the economy.

“The economy was struggling before the outbreak of the pandemic and we thought it wise not to worsen our situation. The sacrifice means nothing to these people, who forced us to tighten our belts while they loosened theirs.

Darkness enhances criminal activities and now they have chosen to keep us in the darkness thinking their high fences will save them. We call on the government to be responsible for once. Nigerians will like to know what we gained from border closures. Insecurity did not stop, neither did it stop the smuggling of rice and others” it stated further.

Recall that news filtered in on Monday that the Federal Government has again increased the electricity tariff payable by power consumers across the country.

The NERC had announced the tariff hike in its December 2020 minor review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order and Minimum Remittance Order.

The tariff increase is taking effect just two months after the government through NERC implemented a hike in November 2020, which saw widespread opposition.

The MYTO order containing the latest tariff hike, Order NERC/225/2020, was signed by the new Chairman of NERC, Sanusi Garba, and it supersedes the previous Order NERC/2028/2020.

Providing reasons for the latest tariff hike, the commission said it considered the 14.9 percent inflation rate rise in November 2020 and foreign exchange of N379.4/$1 as of December 29, 2020.

Others were available generation capacity, the United States inflation rate of 1.22 per cent, and the Capital Expenditure of the power firms before the tariff was raised.

The commission also stated that the new tariff would be effective till June 2021 while a Cost Reflective Tariff would be activated from July to December 2021.

The commission had stated last month that it was carrying out a review for another tariff, hence the latest order announcing an increase in the rates payable by consumers.

Approval for the hike in tariff was given by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, as the increase which varies, based on different consumer classes, took effect from January 1, 2021.

A few hours after the news of the tariff hike broke, the NERC issued a statement, denying a 50 per cent hike as had been reported throwing the country into confusion.

Events in the coming days will provide clarity on the true position of things.

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