The Trade Union Congress on Friday condemned the Federal Government’s plan to increase electricity tariff by 2020. In a statement signed by the President of the union, Quadri Olaleye, and the Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, the TUC rejected the reason offered by the government that new tariff would ensure regular power supply, saying that for decades, Nigerians had been paying for service not rendered. The statement said, “The TUC will not support any hike in electricity tariff, when Nigerians rarely have power in their houses; and factories are closing shop and fleeing to neighboring countries.
“Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission should not encourage inefficiency by approving higher tariff because the Discos do not collect the billed revenue for the current tariff. “The argument that the increment in tariff will help to improve power supply holds no water. For decades now, we have been paying for service not rendered which to us is a broad day robbery. Increase in tariff means passing the low efficiency loss to the customers. If collection efficiency is high enough, it will help reduce the gap in cost of delivering electricity and reduce the need for higher tariff.”
The union also kicked against the government’s plan to release N600bn to power operators, questioning what they achieved with funds earliest collected. “Why should the Federal Government release other intervention funds of N600bn to operators? What did they do with the first two bailouts of N213bn and N701bn released to support power distribution, generation and gas companies?
It said, “We have issue with government making all these serious interventions without significant progress. Is it not shameful that Nigeria with over 200 million people cannot boast of 6,000MW consistently for one week at a time that South Africa with a little over 50 million people is generating over 50,000MW?
“The truth is the power sector; nay Nigerians, have not had peace or recorded any significant progress since November 2013 when the sector was privatised. Government cannot continue to enrich some cabals in the name of privatisation.” Punch