The Nigerian Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has incurred the wrath of the country’s Trade Union Congress, TUC, for reportedly maintaining that increase in electricity tariff is the only way to enhance stable power supply in the country.
The TUC also disagreed with the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, which announced the increase towards the end of January.
According to the TUC, the minister’s argument that an Act of the National Assembly actually empowers the commission to increase tariff and that the Act cannot be tampered with even by the federal parliament, is certainly “very lame, too simplistic and misleading.
“Any Act that preys on the masses that it is supposed to protect negates public policy. Any Act that compels the citizens to pay for services not delivered is not only flawed and undemocratic but is ultra vires the power of the Assembly to make laws for the good of the country, and should not enjoy any applicability.
“Any Act that further impoverishes the downtrodden and lowly is evil and should be discountenanced. We lend our voice again to advocate the need for the minister and NERC to stop trying to enforce the obnoxious Act,” TUC said in statement signed by the duo of Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, its President, and Barrister Musa Lawal, its Secretary-General.
“It is high time the minister and pr oponents of the tariff increase are reminded that one of the major reasons Nigerians demanded a change of leadership in May 2015 was so they could heave a sigh of relief. A major expectation was that we would, for once, stop paying for services that are not rendered.
“We never anticipated that the already fraudulent billing system would be made worse. We saw no NERC/FASHOLAGATE in the horizon!
“While we agree that the cost of procuring raw materials to generate electricity could be high, does it make any economic sense that the poor barber who still finds himself having to fuel his small generator even at the current high rate should be made to pay more for a service whose supply is very irregular and uncertain?
“With the benefit of hindsight it has become evident that the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, was a well-crafted ploy to deceive Nigerians into believing that it would address their pains.”
The TUC which enumerated reasons why the hike should be rejected by all Nigerians, described it as dictatorial.
“Due process stipulated in extant laws for such increment was not observed. We refer especially to Section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act 2005.”