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• Group deplores hike, labels decision bad New Year gift
The Federal Government, yesterday, directed the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend implementation of the new electricity tariff.
In a statement, Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, said the review from N2 to N4 per kWh should wait until the joint ad hoc committee concludes work by month end.
He tweeted: “To promote constructive conclusion of dialogue with labour centres through the joint ad hoc committee, I have directed NERC to stall implementation of the minor review (which adjusted tariff between N2 and N4 per kWh) until the conclusion of the committee’s work by end of January 2021.
“Contrary to claim that tariff has been increased by 50 per cent, the government continued to fully subsidise 55 per cent of on-grid consumers in bands D and E and maintained the lifeline for the poor and underprivileged. Those citizens have experienced no change to tariff rates from what they have paid historically (aside the recent minor inflation and forex adjustment).
Mamman continued: “Partial subsidies were also applied for bands A, B and C in October 2020. These measures are aimed at cushioning effects of the (COVID-19) pandemic, while providing more targeted interventions for citizens.
“The public is aware that the Federal Government and labour centres have been engaged in positive discussions about the electricity sector through a joint ad hoc committee led by Minister of State for Labour and Productivity and co-chaired by the Minister of State for Power. Great progress has been made in these deliberations, which are to be concluded at the end of January 2021.”
RELATEDLY, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), has deplored the hike, describing it as a bad New Year gift to Nigerians.
The reaction was contained in a statement issued yesterday by its Executive Director, Nelson Nnanna Nwafor. It read in part: “Although the NERC had earlier come out to debunk the hike (said in many quarters to be 50 per cent) as spurious, FENRAD seeks to know where the regulatory commission is leaving Nigerian consumers after the three-month expiration as negotiated with organised labour in September 2020 wherein the Federal Government undertook to subsidise tariff by defraying electricity rate with N10.20k per kilowatt-hour (kwhr) for Nigerians.
“Though NERC did not increase electricity tariff by 50 per, but its decision to increase cost of power consumption has further exposed vulnerable Nigerians, who are still recovering from the damage done to the economy by the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown and the nationwide curfew that attended the hijacked #EndSARS protests.”