Electricity tariff increase: NLC threatens unprecedented industrial action

• Calls for immediate reversal

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for an immediate reversal in the increase in electricity tariff, even as it declared that Nigerians have bled enough.

In a statement released late Tuesday night and signed by the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the congress said the Federal Government should reverse the increase immediately or face an unprecedented industrial resistance by Nigerian workers.

Wabba pointed out that the increase in electricity tariff negates the agreement the organised labour reached with the government in September 2020.

Besides, he said the increase will further imperil the local economy, lead to the loss of millions of jobs by Nigerian workers and trigger wider social discomfitures.

He said: “This increase would be the umpteenth time in a space of less than one year. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) vehemently condemns this attempt to start the year 2021 for Nigerians on the grinding stone. It is even colder that this tariff increase was announced without recourse to the negotiation process that the government and organised labour in Nigeria signed up to about three months ago.

“The representatives of organised labour in the committees set up during negotiation with the government to engage on issues in our electricity and petroleum sectors heard of this insensitive hike from the media like other Nigerians. This is indeed a stellar performance in negotiation in bad faith by the Federal Government. This is completely unacceptable to the working people of Nigeria.

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“It is very awful and indeed cruel for government to introduce yet another killer electricity tariff amidst the soaring inflation and poverty rates in the country.”

He added: “There is no gainsaying the fact that this tariff hike would sound the death knell for many manufacturing outfits in Nigeria as many of them would resort to either mass lay-off of workers and or direct importation of finished goods.

“We are bothered by the doublespeak in the NERC communique announcing this hike in tariff. In one breath, NERC denied any new increase in tariff. In another breath, it announced that electricity tariff would be adjusted from N2 per kilowatt/hour to N4 per kilowatt/hour – a 100% tariff increase.

“The statement in quick reversals also lumped consumers in Band D and E under the new tariff. This volte-face is contrary to our agreement with the government which excluded Band D and E from further increases in electricity tariff. This clearly paints a picture of the deliberate mission by the government to hoodwink and take Nigerians for a ride.”

The NLC further said: “In light of the heightened burden that this hike in electricity tariff imposes on Nigerian workers and people, we urge the Federal Government to quickly withdraw this uncanny New Year Gift or face an unprecedented industrial resistance by Nigerian workers. Nigerians have bled enough already. We will bleed no more.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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