The organised labour yesterday kicked against the plan by the federal government to increase electricity tariff describing it as callous and insensitive to the well-being of consumers, especially the poor Nigerians.
The plan to increase electricity tariff by 40 per cent is expected to start by July 1, 2023.
Although the federal government explained that the rationale for the increment was in response to the over 100 per cent increase in the pump price of premium motor spirit (pms) with details showing a movement in inflation from 16.9 per cent to 22.41 and a shift in exchange rate from N441 to N750.
But the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in a statement by its national president, Comrade Joe Ajaero in Abuja said the labour centre does not believe that these figures are a justification for this reckless proposed tariff increase.
The labour centre advised the federal government to shelve the plan.
Ajaero said the issue of capacity to pay and quality of service delivery are not only germane but superior to any rationalisation by market logic.
“The plan to increase electricity tariff by 40 by July 1st is both insensitive and callous and reflects an organised indifference to the well-being of consumers, especially, the poor ones.
The issue of capacity to pay and quality of service delivery are not only germane but superior to any rationalisation by market logic, the service providers in spite of sundry support have not been able to meet the threshold of 5000 megawatts”, he said in the statement.
He added, “Coupled with this, there have been surreptitious increases without notice in violation of statutes, the inherent risk in the new regime of tariff is that there is no control, implying that by August, consumers will pay new rates.
The other risk is that by the time other product or service-rendering entities come up with their new prices or rates, the ordinary person would have been compacted into dust”.
According to the labour leader, “We would want to advise apostles of the Market who have called NLC all sorts of names to check their conscience, the rate at which they are going is highly combative and combustible.
With consideration of payment of school fees in tertiary institutions and increases in privately-owned ones in addition to other costs/tariffs on the way, life in Nigeria could truly be Hobbesian, in light of this, our advice is that this proposed tariff hike should be shelved for our collective safety.”