By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
United Labour Congress (ULC) has warned the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) not to hike electricity tariff, describing the plan as inhuman and insensitive action against the citizenry of the country.
In a statement issued by the National President of ULC, Com. Joe Ajaero, on Tuesday, the labour union said that the hike which was scheduled to take effect from April 1 or any other date without improvement in generating, transmission and distribution capacity upto 10,000 Megawatts is unacceptable.
” Nigerian workers did not accept it when it was proposed earlier and this has not changed especially as the nation and indeed Nigeria faces the very existential threat of the COVID-19 outbreak. Periods of outbreaks do not require further hardship but palliatives to cushion the people from the fears and difficulties that would follow.
” Congress had thought that it would have been more sensitive and responsive to have called off NERC; which is beginning to look like a Tormentor-in-chief of the Nigerian people from the wrong headed policy of increasing the price of Electricity on realising not just the resistance of the citizenry and majority of the stakeholders but also the new challenges confronting the Nigerian masses and companies who are the major consumers of electricity in Nigeria. COVID-19 is the new reality and its consequences are dire and real.
” When nothing much has been done to alleviate the sufferings of the people at this time and the handling of the global pandemic less than normal, we should not be seen pursuing actions that would further emasculate the people”, said ULC
” What we have witnessed all over the world are robust and aggressive arrangements to protect the citizenry from this Virus. New Hospitals have been built in Days creating more bed spaces; new housing made available to accommodate the homeless; Cash transfers positioned for the citizenry while access to Food and other basic guarantees are provided. These are actions that resonate and show serious connection with the people thus deeper commitment to the welfare of the people. NERC is however engineering a reverse here. Afflicting the people more with a hike in electricity tariff is the exact opposite of what should be done right now.
” This is most unfortunate and we consider this a dangerous sign that NERC is not for the people but for some few individuals and corporate organisations who have remained impervious to the cries and wailings of the citizens of this nation. The supervisors of NERC ought to have prevailed on them to have issued counter-directives to all the DISCOs on or before today and the fact that this has not gone forte as we had expected means that the growing belief amongst the citizenry that there is a gang-up against them may just have certain elements of trut”, said ULC
The ULC suggested that there should be more of a tariff regime that is service reflective driven by greater moral responsibility to the welfare of the people and nation rather than pandering to the whims and caprices of Corporate organisations.
The labour union warned that if nothing is done by NERC to stop the implementation of the hike in electricity tariff; it would be forced to take action to protect Nigerians and Nigerian workers immediately after the 14days lockdown.