By Ononye VC
The Nigeria Labour Congress has rejected the alleged plan to increase electricity tariff by 40 per cent on July 1.
The Congress described the move as insensitive and callous, saying it reflected an organised indifference to the well-being of consumers, especially, the poor ones.
The NLC said this in a statement by its national president,Comrade Joe Ajaero on Thursday in Abuja.
The statement reads: “The plan to increase electricity tariff by 40 by July 1st is both insensitive and callous and reflects an organised indifference to the well-being of consumers, especially, the poor ones.
“The massive increase is explained away as a response to the over 100 per cent increase in the pump price of premium motor spirit. Details reveal a movement in inflation from 16.9% to 22.41 (threatening to needle 30), and a shift in exchange rate from N441 to N750.We believe not even these figures are a justification for this reckless proposed tariff increase.
” The issue of capacity to pay and quality of service delivery are not only germane but superior to any rationalisation by market logic. The service providers in spite of sundry support have not been able to meet the threshold of 5000 megawatts.
“Coupled with this, there have been surreptitious increases without notice in violation of statutes. The inherent risk in the new regime of tariff is that there is no control, implying that by August, consumers will pay new rates.
“The other risk is that by the time other products or service-rendering entities come up with their new prices or rates, the ordinary person would have been compacted into dust. We would want to advise apostles of the market who have called NLC all sorts of names to check their conscience.
“The rate at which they are going is highly combative and combustible. With the contemplation of payment of school fees in tertiary institutions and increases in privately-owned ones in addition to other costs/tariffs on the way, life in Nigeria could truly be Hobbesian.
“The market economies which the Market Fundamentalists seek to emulate, have in place socio-economic safeguards which we do not have. In light of this, our advice is that this proposed tariff hike should be shelved for our collective safety.”