News

April 14, 2024

Stop deceiving Nigerians, tariff hike ‘ll worsen socio-economic woes, Electricity workers tell FG

Electricity tariff
By Victor AhiumaYoung

Workers in the nation’s power sector have asked the Federal Government to stop deceiving Nigerians over the 300 percent hike in electricity tariff, and called for it reversal to avoid further socioeconomic woes.


While advising the government to come clean on the hike and not be economical with the truth, they described the hike as nothing but another anti-people policy.


Under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, the workers warned that if any of their colleague is attacked in the line of duty over the tariff hike, they would shut down power supply nationwide without notice.


In a statement titled “Hike in electricity tariff I – Danger looms”, Acting General Secretary of the Union, Dominic Igwebike, among others, “NUEE is one of the critical stakeholders in the electricity sector and it has been our major concern to see the delivery of constant, sustainable, clean, and affordable Electric Power to our dear Nation.


“There has not been any meaningful improvement since after the privatization of the Power Sector. The country has an installed capacity of about 14,000MW but generates about 4,803MW. But , Nigeria needs at least 30,000MW to reach sufficiency.


“The recent hike in electricity tariff from N68 /kwh to N225 /kwh is absurd in a country where the majority of the masses are grappling with basic survival and an electricity access rate of about 55 percent.


“The justification given by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, is that the hike is attributed to only Band A consumers who make up only 15 percent of electricity consumers and utilize 40 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption. “It begs to understand the sensibility of the person(s) that uttered such a statement purporting that it would not affect the general public.


“They need to answer these questions: Who are the Band A consumers? What do they do? Who are the customers of the Band A consumers? Who bears the brunt of the electricity hike?


“The general public is the one that will be most affected by this. They are the customers and end-users of the Band A products and services. The additional costs will be transferred to the common man, so they are indirectly being exploited, notwithstanding their dwindling purchasing power and increasing impoverishment.


“Let’s look at these two scenarios: 1. Company A, uses 1000 kwh of energy in manufacturing and works for 24 hours a day, with the current hike, his daily energy cost will increase from N50,592,000 to N167,400,000 which is an additional direct cost of N116,808,000 i.e 231 percent not to maintain the increase in the cost of their inputs as the costs of those will also be increased by the producers to accommodate their own increase.


“The price of Company A in Band A products will go up by about 300 percent and those in Band Z where there is no transformer will buy at the increased price. If they buy at a higher price, they are the ones paying the almost 300 percent increase, not the manufacturer purported to be taxed.


“2. Company B, increased the price of their products in line with their new economic reality, consumers don’t have the purchasing power to buy at the new rate, Company B will close down. As Company B closes down, some of its peers facing the same economic challenge will follow suit, and then unemployment will increase. If that happens, insecurity will be on an upward trend, then the government will spend more than the money made in fighting insecurity which we have not been able to get hold of.


“The increased cost of goods will make Nigerian-produced goods unattractive as imported and smuggled items will be far cheaper. People will resort to those goods, thereby fueling the economy and employment situation of the countries of import.


“Our manufacturing and businesses will become comatose. The two scenarios above show that the hike in the electricity tariff is grossly detrimental to the economic diversification, growth, and well-being of Nigerians.


“This is why the US, UK, France, Germany, and other developed economies support their factories with billions invested in power subsidies. Why is Nigeria different? Electricity in Egypt is an average of N21.68 per kwh, and in South Africa, it is N226 per kwh.


“The minimum wage in Egypt is N78,360 while in South Africa it is N328,395. The minimum wage in Nigeria is N30,000 while the new electricity tariff is N255 per kwh. A country that genuinely has the interest of its people at heart and wants to grow will ensure that the real sector is given the most support it can get not putting a nail in its coffin.

“The he safety of our members is at stake, as they are at risk of being attacked by people in the community when they visit for disconnections of light.

“The Minister of Power and NERC did not consult with the stakeholders in the sector before the increase. The Minister of Power has relegated himself as the spokesperson for the the electricity distribution companies DisCos, where he is justifying Cost Reflective Tariffs.

“What of Service Reflective Tariffs as it relates to consumers? We as a stakeholder don’t know the Energy policy of the present administration.

“As a critical stakeholder in the Power Sector connected with Nigerians getting constant and affordable power supply, we state categorically that the hike in the electricity tariff is not beneficial to Nigerians and

should be withdrawn.

“If any of our members is attacked or molested by customers in the course of performing his or her duties, we will down tools. Our position is that the hike should be reversed immediately.