PROPOSED HIKE IN ELECTRICITY TARIFF: SOCIAL ACTION CONDEMNS MOVE AND CALLS ON ORGANIZED LABOUR TO INTERVENE
In widely publicized reports, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is proposing to grant fresh approvals to Electricity Distribution Companies-DisCos to increase electricity tariff, which will commence 1st September 2021.
It could be recalled that there is a subsisting negotiation cum agreement between the federal government and Organized Labour on the modalities in arriving at a tariff mechanism acceptable to both parties. According to the leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress-NLC, Ayuba Wabba, the agreement to freeze further increases in tariff between Organised Labour and the Federal Government committee on electricity tariff still subsists.
We condemn in strong terms such senseless proposal, real or speculated. The kneejerk responses by the federal governments to the economic plight of Nigerian masses reveal how government of the day recklessly continues to use state power and bad policies to irrigate poverty. The proposed hike in electricity tariff points, in particular, to the culpability of reckless use of power exercised through the state to impoverish the masses. The Muhammadu Buhari administration is producing widespread impoverishment through anti-masses policies, leading to hunger and hardship for millions of Nigerians. Livelihoods carefully built over many years by Nigerians are being destroyed. Vulnerable Nigerians are being pushed into poverty. The senseless and atrocious hikes in electricity tariff, petrol pump price and others only justify how this government is bent on pushing millions into poverty with every stroke of state power.
The country is grappling with all-time high inflation, high unemployment, insecurity, poverty, which means a huge number of Nigerians going hungry every day, massive brain-drain. Such is the case in the health sector where Nigerian doctors are neglected and their salaries unpaid and forced to migrate in search of better life. This wide gap in inequality are unlikely to go away any time soon, and attributable to poor governance. These are some well-documented flaws of this administration, these economic dissonance between what is and what ought to be is a striking phenomenon that demands progressive pragmatic solutions. Economic growth in statistics and numbers as projected by the government are often exaggerated like the growth in GDP which is not a true reflection of the growth in the economy, while the country grapples with elements threatening the very existence of the country.
The Muhammadu Buhari government should discontinue with this move to increase electricity tariff, it is nothing short of a move to impoverish the people it claims to govern, making them unfortunate economic victims. The government should ensure adequate power supply, security of lives and properties to engender real and sustainable economic growth.
We, therefore, call on all well-meaning citizens and stakeholders, including organized Labour, to resist this economic onslaught against the masses and the commodification of public services by this government. Labour, who has been negotiating on behalf of the masses must organize and offer real answers to the working class and poor majority in Nigeria, not compromised by politics of stomach infrastructure to the detriment of the masses.