By John Okoh
The National Union of Electricity Employees of Nigeria has reacted to the increase in electricity tariff announced by the government to take effect from July.
Speaking to TV Continental in Lagos on Monday, General Secretary of the union, Mr. Joe Ajaero said it would be surprising to see the new policy come into effect given the harsh economic challenges affecting many households as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said; “It is going to be a surprise to see it happen. As at now many of us are at home. There is nothing the union can do. We will wait until the increase come into effect before we react. If they, (government) go ahead and and do it, then they would get the necessary action. Nigerians are not at work, nothing is happening, the economy is yet to get back and you want Nigerians to pay more for electricity?”
Recently, the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, had on Tuesday disclosed that the new increment on electricity tariff will take off in July.
Mamman who spoke at the the Investigative Public Hearing on Power Sector Recovery Plan and the impact on COVID-19 Pandemic, organised by the Senate Committee on Power, said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had also affected the plan for the repositioning of the electricity market toward financial sustainability under the Power Sector Recovery Programme.
He said the regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had initially planned to conduct a tariff review in April 2020 but had to delay implementation by three months because of the coronavirus pandemic, which created consumer apathy.
“The impact of this means the subsidy being incurred in maintaining the current tariff level had to be maintained till July 2020 when the proposed tariff review will be implemented,” he said, adding,
“The challenge we are currently facing in the development and expansion of our transmission line is budget and release of Federal Government’s commitment in the estimated sum of N32 billion primarily for Right of Way acquisition and environmental impact mitigation.
“The fund should be provided for in the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Appropriation of the Ministry of Power,” he added.
“This by default affects the purchasing power of consumers and the demand for electricity in general.
“The current situation in the Nigerian Power Sector is that a lot of capital investment is being made, most of which is dependent on donor funding, loans and budgetary allocation,”
Nigerians have been begging government not to carry out the increase because of the negative impact of Covid-19 on personal and national economy, even as the country generates 4,500 and 2,000 megawatts despite huge governmental investment into the sector. Only recently, the NERC underlined its determination to carry out the new increase in tariff by announcing an upward review of the unit cost of Meter Asset Provider Regulation, MAP, using changes in foreign exchange rate approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
|Meter Type||Current Cost (Naira)||Revised Cost (Naira)|
Nigerians in their various platforms have reacted, wondering where the money to pay would come from. Those who have expressed the desire to pay in a way that makes economic sense, that makes consumers pay for what they consume, call for metering of every consumer so that the fraudulent estimated billing system is done away with for good.