THE Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday said it would use every available means to resist the new increase in the electricity tariff.
The NLC also accused the Federal Government of deceit and insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians at this period the Coronavirus pandemic has caused havoc to the people, adding that if the action of the government was not resisted, exploitation in the country would have no end.
President of the Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who reacted to the sudden hike in electricity tariff said that it would have a toll on manufacturers in the country which would, in turn, lead to job loss.
He said, “This is not only condemnable but I think there is some element of deceit in it because there is a standing committee of the federal government which the electricity regulatory commission is part of it still working on how to be able to address the issue of electricity hike arising from the last hike which labour intervened.
“Most of the members are not even aware of this current Increase. Basically, we are going to resist it and Nigerians must also stand up to resist it because it’s like exploitation it means that this exploitation will not have an end and when you look at the variable it is even laughable.
“You are looking at the variable of Inflation, and the variable of the exchange rate which is supposed to be part of the responsibility of the government to fix. The Government ought to fix our economy and bring the exchange rate to the lowest level, same with also Inflation and therefore it is transferring inefficiency in our system by the government now to the consumers which the implication will be very severe.
“Most of our manufacturers both small and medium scale will not be able to afford all of this, they have been crying and the implication is that there will be some lay off because people will now resort to importation, most of these small and medium-term enterprises will resort to importation instead of producing here at home.
“It will also affect the diversification policy and certainly it will further impoverish Nigerians especially workers because currently, we are under the yoke of paying excessive charges overall services and this on this very important commodity is the worst.
“It is really unfortunate also because in may climes, the government is subsidising power because of the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, health and impact of COVID-19 in the world of work including African countries.”
Accusing the government of insensitivity, Wabba further said, “We have statistics of countries that have actually assisted to make sure that electricity tariff is even suspended for some time and there have not been any increase.
“But unfortunately, I do not think we have looked at all of these and the implication is that there will be grave consequences if this is not really challenged.
“And very soon, organised labour will try to look at the issue and we respond appropriately, that I will assure you because it has bastardised the work of this very Important committee that we thought social dialogue will be able to bring the solution.
“It is one issue that affects every family, every home, and business. It is a very sensitive issue that the government ought to be very sensitive to. I have said time without numbers that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission,
NERC is hand in glove with the service providers Instead of siding with the customers.
“Even the very important laws that are put in place to guide such arbitrary increase have not been respected. For instance, the customers’ forum which I remember we held in Kano where all of us resisted this particular increase because it has no basis. In fact, part of the work the committee is doing is to look at the price of gas to the generating firms to be able to bring down even the current price before this increase so basically it has certainly also bastardised the process of social dialogue.
Vanguard News Nigeria