The Nigeria Labour Congress has said the Federal Government cannot revert to the September 1, 2020 service reflective tariff that led to widespread outcry across the country.
Deputy President, NLC, Joe Ajaero, who doubles as General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees, on Friday night, said a new tariff template had been agreed upon by government and labour unions.
He said, “I’m not sure of any planned reversal to the old or increased tariff. The template has been touched after the first two weeks of our meeting on the tariff review.
“If you watch the new template for customers in bands A and B, there was a reduction of 10 per cent and 10.5 per cent, respectively. For those in Band C, there is a 31 per cent reduction.”
Ajaero added, “Those in bands D and E were not increased at all. Now, that is what we could do within the two weeks and we were given an extension of about two to three months to work on some other issues.”
He said the implementation of the reductions would have commenced in the past two weeks but, because of some adjustments, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission would have to commence it on a later date.
“NERC is not reverting to the tariff that led to the outcry. Rather, it would commence the implementation of these adjustments that were done pending when we are going to make further findings.
“So, they are going to revert to these adjustments that we have made and not the September 1, 2020 tariff hike, which they had approved earlier. The NERC chairman’s signature is on what we agreed to during our meeting,” Ajaero said.
On why parties at the meeting agreed to an extension of about three months for further findings, the NLC official said it was to settle other concerns in the power sector.
He said, “Why are we talking about two to three months to iron out issues? It is because of the issue of gas pricing. Gas produced in this country is being sold in dollars and they now compute tariff based on the price of gas in dollars.
“We said this is wrong. So, we have to look into it and know the cost of gas for power in the country. Now, these issues have to do with the gas policy of Nigeria, which cannot be handled within two weeks.”
Ajaero stated that, by the time the team secures the accurate pricing for gas, which he said would not be in dollars, the power tariff must come down.
Asked whether the new pricing template that was agreed upon would run for the three months needed to sort out the other concerns, Ajaero replied, “Yes, that is the template.
“The template was presented to the joint meeting between labour and government; it was adopted there and the approval for two to three months to conclude the work was given. Within that two to three months’ period, we are going to visit the Discos and interview the customers as well.”
The Chairman, NERC, Prof James Momoh, who had earlier promised to speak with our correspondent on the matter, eventually declined to comment when contacted on Friday night.