The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed its opposition to the planned increase in electricity tariffs set to take effect in July. The NLC appealed to the federal government to reconsider its decision to raise electricity tariffs by 40% on July 1st, citing concerns for the nation’s welfare.
In a statement signed by NLC President Joseph Ajaero, the union described the proposed tariff hike as insensitive and callous, demonstrating a lack of concern for consumers, especially those who are economically disadvantaged. The NLC argued that the significant increase in tariffs was being justified as a response to the over 100% increase in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol.
Ajaero emphasized that even the justifications provided, such as rising inflation and exchange rates, were insufficient reasons for such a reckless tariff increase. The NLC highlighted the inability of electricity service providers to meet the required threshold of 5,000 megawatts despite various forms of support. The union also criticized the surreptitious tariff increases that had occurred without proper notice, which violated regulatory statutes.
The NLC expressed concerns about the lack of control in the new tariff regime, warning that consumers would face additional rate hikes by August. They also noted the cumulative burden on ordinary citizens, especially considering the potential increases in other products and services. The NLC advised proponents of market principles to examine their conscience, as the current trajectory could lead to a highly combative and challenging life for Nigerians. The NLC emphasized the need for socio-economic safeguards that exist in other market economies but are lacking in Nigeria.
In conclusion, the NLC urged the government to shelve the proposed tariff hike in the interest of collective safety.