FG, NLC, TUC Adhoc committee on electricity tariff engages DisCos, customers
• As IBEDC promises to resolve SRT challenges
The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) has hosted the Federal Government/Labour Adhoc Committee on Electricity Tariff in a stakeholders’ engagement session to discuss the recent increment in electricity tariff.
The committee was set up to by the Federal Government to engage consumers and the organised labour on issues the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) raised due to the introduction of Service Reflective Tariff (SRT) on September 1, 2020, which led to increment in electricity tariff in the country.
The Minister of State, Labour and Productivity, Festus Kenyamo (SAN), while explaining why the committee was set said the committee was committed to getting all shades of suggestions and input from the Distribution Companies (DisCos), consumers, the organised labour and other key players in the electricity sector. This, he said will enable the committee to come up with a report that would proffer long-lasting solution to the problems facing the sector in the country.
He said one of the major areas of the committee’s focus is to ensure that “the tariffs actually reflect the services received by customers and that the tariffs are not exploitative and are good enough to make the sector viable so as to attract investors.”
Speaking at the event, the Chief Operating Officer of IBEDC, John Ayodele said IBEDC was committed to ensuring some of the challenges noticed during the implementation of the SRT, such as improper categorisation of customers are resolved as soon as possible, noting that it would take some time for the electricity sector in Nigeria to be built to the height everyone in the country desires. He, therefore, solicited for understanding and the cooperation of consumers to ensure better service is delivered.
He pleaded that “we need to trust them (the government team in the committee). The government, as they have promised, will implement the report of the committee when it is ready.”
Also speaking at the parley, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on infrastructure, Mr Ahmed Zakari, said the mass metring programme of the current government is unprecedented in the country’s history, emphasising that the primary motive of the government is to ensure the electricity sector improves tremendously.
He, however, warned DisCo thinking of taking advantage of the government’s current free metering programme to charge consumers for the meters to think again, as the federal government will stop at nothing to ensure such DisCos are sanctioned in line with extant laws.
Speaking on behalf of the NLC, the congress’s national vice president, Joe Ajaero said the timing of the increment was wrong as many Nigerians are still grappling with the negative impacts of Covid-19. He insisted that electricity is an important sector which should be handled by the government.
He also asked why salaries were not increased while the tariff increment came, saying that the average Nigerian may not meet up with the high cost of electricity in the country.
“Power and water supply are human right issues. Power should be classified under human right issues. And when the state decides to hand it over to the private sector whose duty is the private motive, then you understand. The private sector must make their profits, clearly.” He said the government makes it look as if the “labour is just agitating. We are agitating because we cannot pay.”