Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) yesterday vowed to resist any attempt to hike electricity tariff in the country. It argued that such a move is not in the interest of the workers.
In a statement endorsed by its President,Boboi Kaigama and Secretary General, Comrade Musa Lawal, the group said workers cannot be made to pay for services they hardly enjoy.
The Congress said it is exploitative for workers that earn less than N20,000 monthly to pay almost half of his monthly salary for electricity which they hardly use.
The statement read: “TUC has noted with dismay recent media reports on plans by electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) in the country to increase tariff on electricity by an average of 49.4 per cent.
“We understand that a number of proposals have already been submitted to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) pursuant to this objective. In view of the present harsh economic realities in the land, it is our view that the proposed increase is wrong and lacks human face.
“Why should the masses be at the receiving end of every wrong and retrogressive policy in the country? “Why must they always pay for what the rich consume more of? What sense does it make for a man who earns less than N20,000 per month to be made to pay over N8,000 for electricity bill alone within the same month?
“Why should they pay so much for what they do not use regularly with officers of the DISCOs rarely bothering to read the analogue metres? “Why should these questionable issues that are spared no thought in other climes always take centre stage in Nigeria? Surely Nigerians deserve a much better deal.”
The workers said it has been informed that NERC is considering introducing measures that will facilitate reduction of the rate of the fixed charge on consumers. The statement explained that what has been happening all along is same with what is obtainable in the telecom sector where tones are either assigned to subscribers or they are enrolled on plans that attract daily, weekly or monthly deductions.
TUC said further: “We say no to this nonsensical idea. The N750 charge is fundamentally fraudulent and unjust and must be outrightly abolished. Anyone canvassing its sustenance or any increase in tariff does a grave disservice to the nation.
“Implementation of the planned increase would amount to an invitation to anarchy. It is totally oppressive, indefensible and retrogressive. Little wonder that NERC has been foot-dragging on the issue of making prepaid meters available to consumers of electricity because of the excessive billing they have been imposing on all and sundry. There is no gainsaying the fact that the present billing system is crazy, and any increase in tariff at this time is bound to make it even crazier.
“NERC and DISCOs would do well to shun anything that would attract the wrath of the masses. Rather, Nigerians expect them to earnestly adopt genuinely consumer-friendly policies. The fact that power supply is relatively improved within the last few months does not mean that the myriad of challenges bedevilling the sector are over”