By Tunde Oso
Stakeholders in different sectors of the economy have expressed disgust and resentment at the latest plan of electricity tariff hike. Many sectoral leaders have opposed the tariff increase, maintaining it is “ill-timed” and disregards the challenges faced by Nigerians.
Firing the first salvo, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) urged the Federal Government to reconsider, while the Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria rejected the tariff hike.
Nigerians were ushered into the new year with news of a further increase in electricity tariffs in a Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission NERC order signed by the new Chairman, Sanusi Garba and one of its Commissioners, Dafe Akpeneye, which instructed DisCos to increase tariffs effective January 1, 2021.
In a statement sent to Vanguard by the Director-General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, urged the Federal Government to tread with caution on the tariff increase as any hike at this time is ill-timed.
Ajayi-Kadir said, “As indicated in the previous press release, the sector is already groaning under inclement operating environment, including the debilitating impact of COVID-19 disruptions and deteriorating infrastructures. It is important for us to avoid this additional burden!”
Chijioke James, President, Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria said consumers reject electricity tariff increase under any guise.
According to James “This tariff has jolted citizens – artisans, technicians, teachers, manufacturers, and industrialists. We see the action as ill-timed, insensitive, and a deliberate move to further impoverish and increase the difficulties Nigerians are passing through at a time they are yet to recover from the shocks of months of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
“Nigerians today,” according to James, “are feeling the weight of the increase in the cost of virtually everything that makes life worth living from foodstuffs to transport, petrol, indiscriminate bank charges, Medicare, house rent, data bill, pay TV, etc. Consumers are deeply concerned about the deaf and the dumb posture of the electricity regulator. NERC continues to play the ostrich while some portfolio investors make a blood meal of Nigerians.”
However, after much uproar, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) spokesman Michael Faloseyi refuted the reported increment in a statement stating that no approval has been granted for 50 per cent tariff increase in the tariff order for DisCos.