The Nigeria Labour Congress has said it would call out workers on industrial action if the Federal Government implemented a proposed hike in electricity tarrifs.
It reminded the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, about the agreement reached by the Federal Government – Organised Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff on September 28, 2020.
The meeting had agreed to freeze further increases in electricity tariff until the committee concludes its work and its report adopted by all the principals in the committee.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, handed down the notice in reaction to speculations that the 11 power distribution companies have received approval to slightly increase electricity tariffs with effect from September 1.
The hint came from an August 25 notification to customers from the Eko Electricity Distribution Company titled, ‘Re: Tariff increase notification,’ purportedly signed by the General Manager, Loss Reduction, Olumide Anthony-Jerome.
The notice claimed that the approval was from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
It read, “This is to officially notify you that there will be an increase in electricity tariff with effect from September 1, 2021. This increase is as a result of the nationwide mandate to implement the Service Based Tariff approved by our regulators.
“Kindly note that the increase will be reflected on the energy bill for October 2021, which will represent energy consumption for September.
“In addition, for our metered customers with internal vending arrangements, we urge you to adjust the rates accordingly to reflect the new tariff increase as released by the NERC.”
According to the newly approved plan, customers with lower power consumption capacity have their rates increased by N2 per kilowatts hour from N54.08/kwh to N56.08/kwh and are promised at least 20 hours of supply daily.
But reacting to the reports in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Notice on speculations on increase in electricity tarrifs,’ Wabba cautioned that the organised labour would not brook any tarrifs hike.
He stated, “We wish to draw your attention to the wave of speculation, especially as widely reported in the media that there are fresh plans to grant approval to Electricity Distribution Companies to hike electricity tariff.
“We write to remind the Honourable Minister that Organised Labour on September 28, 2020, through the Federal Government – Organised Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff agreed to freeze further increases in electricity tariff until the committee concludes its work and its report adopted by all the Principals in the Committee.
“It is in light of this that we dismiss the ongoing speculation on increase in electricity tariff as mere speculations.
“We, however, find it prudent to put you on notice that should government make true the swirling speculation by approving an increase in electricity tariff, Organised Labour would be left with no option than to deploy the industrial mechanisms granted in our laws for the defense of workers’ rights.”