SWITZERLAND, FEBRUARY 26 – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday said it would mobilise Nigerians to resist any form of increment in the electricity tariff, be it in form of Value Added Tax (VAT) or others.
This is even as it said it has nothing to do with the ongoing public hearing on the proposed increase in the electricity tariff across the country.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, who spoke in Lagos yesterday warned that the labour centre would not support any increase in the electricity tariff as it would further impoverish Nigerians.
“The Tariff increase cannot be the answer to power failure in Nigeria, rather it would lead to job loss and many businesses are going to close and this we would not allow to happen.
“The NLC would mobilise Nigerians against the increase and force the Discos and NERC to retract their steps,” he said.
Wabba said presently no worker in Nigeria can be able to pay more for electricity, wondering how much out of the new wage of N30,000 can be spared for electricity.
He said that the increase in VAT on electricity bill to consumers is a double jeopardy and clearly a form of exploitation.
“It is clearly exploitation as no meters are provided and when provided they are not durable and the Discos just charge consumers as they like. So you see that consumers are at the receiving end of paying for light not provided,” he stated.
The NLC boss said the NLC would not attend any of the public hearing by the Discos, noting that only the National Electricity Regulatory Corporation (NERC) has the responsibility to organise such forum.
According to him, the Organised Labour already have a scheduled meeting with NERC, but insisted that NLC would not support any increase.
He said, “Actually, we are going to the meeting with facts and figures of how many companies that have gone into extinction due to the problem of power and how many people would go should there be any increase.
We have a report from Action Aid on how many companies have closed down and this we are ready to share with them at our meeting with NERC for them to know that we are talking from a knowledgeable background.”
He said that Federal Government instead of supporting the Discos on increasing tariff at will should come out boldly to let Nigerians know if the privatisation of the sector has failed.
“Government should let us know if the privatisation of the sector has failed. We have organisations that can run it effectively, we should be saved from all these trauma, “ he said.
Meanwhile, he management of BEDC Electricity Plc. (BEDC) on Tuesday disclosed that with a reviewed tariff, it will revolutionize electricity distribution and provision of top services to customers by embarking on network re-alignment, and provide new distribution transformers and also provide dedicated express feeders to supply 24×7 power to identified customer groups.
Speaking to customers across the franchise states of Edo, Delta, Ondo/Ekiti during a Public Consultation Forum organized ahead of the tariff review, BEDC management said it would actualise its proposal for an embedded power of about 300megawatts under the willing buyer, willing seller arrangement with independent power generators outside the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) national grid, to boost power supply and meet needs of customers.
BEDC assured customers that it would also improve supply to commercial entities across its coverage states due to the need to enable the companies ensure job creation and balance social lives, by adding new injection substations and 500 number distribution substations to strengthen existing network.
The presentation held in Benin city, Edo state, Asaba, Delta state and Akure in Ondo state was anchored by the Chief State Heads, who explained that this upcoming number of transmission stations will help BEDC reduce overloading and mitigate load growth, stressing that “ageing equipment will be replaced in the next years to improve general public safety and ensure quality power to customers”.
“Plan is ongoing to invest in electrification of electrified areas and strengthening of existing network” BEDC said, adding that it also plans to ensure 100per cent metering under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) and 100per cent enumeration and proper mapping of customers to transformers and feeders.