Nigeria: Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress Threaten Industrial Action Over Electricity Tariff Hike

Nigeria: Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress Threaten Industrial Action Over Electricity Tariff Hike

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) have issued a stern ultimatum to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), demanding the withdrawal of the recent hike in electricity tariff by May 12. Failure to comply could result in an unprecedented industrial action.

In a joint letter addressed to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NERC, dated, 2024, and copied to key government officials, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Ministers of Labour and Power, and the electricity distribution companies (DisCos), NLC President Joe Ajaero and TUC President Festus Osifo expressed their grave concerns over the astronomical increase in electricity tariff announced by the commission.

The letter stated, “We believe that this decision is not just morally reprehensible considering the difficulties Nigerians are faced with currently, but it blatantly disregards fundamental principles and statutory obligations.”

The NLC and TUC condemned the hike in electricity tariff, describing it as an exploitation of the masses and workers who are already struggling with economic challenges. They emphasized that NERC, as the regulator of the electricity sector, has a responsibility to protect the interests of the people and ensure fair pricing.

The letter further criticized NERC for allegedly colluding with the electricity distribution companies and generating companies to promote unfair market practices. It accused NERC of abandoning its duty as an unbiased ombudsman in the electricity industry and siding with the “fat cats” in the sector.

The recent tariff hike was deemed to be in violation of established procedures and a clear abuse of power. The NLC and TUC demanded an immediate reversal of the increase and the cessation of discriminatory practices in classifying electricity consumers into arbitrary bands. They also called for a restoration of the supremacy of the statutes governing the conduct of operators within the electricity industry.

The ultimatum given to NERC is until Sunday, May 12, 2024. If their demands are not met, the NLC and TUC have vowed to take swift and decisive action, including mobilizing their members to occupy all NERC offices and those of the DisCos nationwide.

It is worth noting that on April 3, NERC approved an increase in electricity tariff for customers under the Band A category from N66/kWh to N225/kWh. These customers receive 20 hours of electricity supply daily.

The NLC and TUC, representing Nigerian workers and the masses, stand united against this perceived injustice and are committed to defending the rights of citizens against exploitation. They emphasized that they will not accept the recent tariff hike as the new norm and called for a return to fair and affordable electricity pricing.

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