• Tue. May 21st, 2024


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AAN Demands Immediate Reversal of Unwarranted Hike in Electricity Tariff in Nigeria!

At Action Aid We Stand Ready to Mobilise Against Unjust Electricity Tariff IncreaseAAN Country Director

ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has demanded immediate reversal of the recent increase in the electricity tariffs by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

This new policy, according to the Social Justice organization is totally unwarranted and inhumane as more than 80 percent Nigerians are under socio-economic and financial constraints due to numerous economic challenges.

In a statement signed and issued by the AAN Country Director, Mamedu Andrew yesterday stated that “this decision comes at a time when the country is grappling with erratic power supply, leaving millions of citizens in darkness and exacerbating the already dire economic situation faced by many.”

Read the full statement Below:

ActionAid Nigeria strongly condemns the recent approval by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to increase electricity tariffs for customers under the Band A classification. 

This decision comes at a time when the country is grappling with erratic power supply, leaving millions of citizens in darkness and exacerbating the already dire economic situation faced by many.

Andrew Mamedu, the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, noted, “The increment for customers under Band A is not only unjustifiable but also insensitive to the plight of ordinary Nigerians and businesses within the band, especially SMEs. It is outrageous that amidst the prevailing power crisis, the commission would choose to burden consumers with exorbitant tariffs, further deepening the economic hardship faced by millions of households. We view the increase as unjustified and a reward for the gross incompetence of the players in the power sector who have subjected Nigerians to more darkness in recent months than at any other time in history.

Customers under Band A, who are supposedly entitled to 20 hours of electricity supply daily, are left in the dark both figuratively and literally as power outages continue to plague the nation.

NERC’s decision to downgrade certain customers from band A to band B due to purported non-compliance with the stipulated hours of electricity provision by distribution companies, without an inherent plan for monitoring the DISCOs and holding them accountable for fulfilling their obligations, is absurd.

The National Bureau of Statistics reports indicate that over 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor and unable to afford basic amenities. 

Following the removal of fuel subsidy and the floating of the Naira, there has been untold hardship precipitating the cost-of-living crisis, which has pushed more Nigerians to the poverty threshold. It is disheartening to see different government parastatals hiding behind the guise of subsidy removal to justify unjustifiable tariff increases. This pattern of opacity only serves to erode public confidence in the government’s ability to govern effectively and fairly. 

It is important to note that energy security is one of the major areas that contributes to national security and welfare, which explains why nations are always focused on ensuring its availability and affordability. 

While the government of Canada for example, is currently providing up to 100 Canadian Dollars to subsidise energy tariffs for homes amid economic hardship, NERC, on the other hand, has chosen to burden the citizenry with an increment.’’

ActionAid Nigeria demands transparency from NERC regarding the breakdown of the subsidy, noting that the lack of clarity surrounding this issue is deeply troubling

Mr. Mamedu emphasised, “We have written NERC that it is essential for consumers to understand what exactly was being subsidised before, as well as the specific areas or aspects of electricity provision that the subsidy covered. Without this information, consumers are left in the dark about how their payments were allocated and whether they were receiving fair value for their money.

No parastatal should be making vague statements about subsidy removal anymore, as this raises concerns about potential exploitation and abuse within the system. NERC must operate with transparency and openness, especially when making decisions that directly impact the lives and livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.”

Andrew Mamedu reiterated, “ActionAid Nigeria demands that NERC immediately reconsider its decision and prioritise the interests of the Nigerian people above all else. Rather than burdening citizens and business owners with increased tariffs, the commission should focus on addressing the systemic issues plaguing the power sector, including inadequate infrastructure, poor maintenance, and lack of transparency.

As a public enterprise funded by taxpayers’ money, what indices did NERC employ in arriving at the new prices per kWh? And with whom were consultations made, including which stakeholders, before arriving at this decision?

’’We wish to inform the NERC that we have the mandate of over five million members in our social justice movement to demand a reversal of this unproductive policy and the injustice being done to millions of poor Nigerians. We are fully prepared to mobilise our platforms to drive our demands, and we will not hesitate to escalate our efforts, albeit peacefully if our concerns are not addressed.’’”

Specifically, we demand:

1. A reversal to the status quo pending a thorough investigation into the electricity subsidy regime. 

2. A reversal to the status quo pending a thorough consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including trade unions, workers’ unions, civil society organizations, consumer groups, and affected communities and social movements, to find sustainable solutions that prioritize affordable and reliable electricity supply for all Nigerians. The consultation must be made open and available to all Nigerians

3.  A complete revitalisation of the electricity sector that would ensure the availability of power to the masses of Nigeria. 

4.  A robust monitoring system for distribution companies to hold them accountable to fulfilling their obligations. It is imperative that NERC ensures fairness and transparency in the electricity sector to protect the rights of consumers and uphold the integrity of the regulatory process.

By News Editor

Our News Editor, Muyiwa is an information management expert and Development Blogger with more than a decade experience in investigative reporting and journalism. He is passionate about human angle stories to all social issues in Nigeria and Africa.