HURIWA condemns 50% electricity tariff hike, calls for protests

Posted by News Express | 3 January 2021 | 610 times

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•President Buhari

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has strongly condemned as “insensitive, irresponsible, irrational and reckless”, what it called “the ill-timed and ill-intentioned” 50% hike in the electricity tariff payable by Nigerians.

It stressed that the 50% hike added to already overcharged and over-billed electricity tariff paid by Nigerians is regrettable and unfortunate.

The rights group expressed the fear that the hike in electricity price will unleash a “harmattan of absolute poverty in the midst of the massive poverty” the government had already inflicted on millions Nigerians in the last five years. “There is no country anywhere under the sun,” HURIWA said, “where the government begins a new year for her people with an avalanche of strangulating economic policies as has being done by President Muhammedu Buhari.”

It said that the action by the President is a negation of section 14 (2)(B) of the 1999 constitution which speaks to the issues of primary duties of government as the obligation to promote the welfare and security of the citizens, noting that in this instance, the increment in the electricity tariff has violated the Chapter 2 of the constitution.

“This same government did not transparently provide financial assistance to a large number of small businesses that were destroyed due to the COVID-19 lockdown that were enforced by the President Buhari for eight months.

“And then the same government introduced twin evil policy of hike in patrol price and that of electricity tariff. Millions of Nigerians are still battling to survive the consequences of that twin evil policy only for the government to introduce yet another economic pain on the necks of Nigerians to compound their poverty situation on a very colossal level.

“This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportion and must be resisted by the people of Nigeria or we will be enslaved. Nigerians should therefore reject it or we live with the ugly reality of collective servitude. The best alternative is to publicly demonstrate peacefully to demand immediate withdrawal of this excruciating pain which will further impoverish millions of Nigerians.

“The hike in electricity tariff will have the ripple effect of increasing the costs of goods and services just as the prices of essential foods and other items will quadruple given the costs of preservation of some of the food items that are sold and bought in the same markets by both the affluent and the absolutely poor 100million Nigerians as the country has overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world.”

HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, had approved over 50 per cent hike in electricity tariff effective January 1, 2021.

The new tariff hike regime is to be paid by customers of the 11 electricity distribution companies (DISCOs).

This is coming just two months after the Commission forced the implementation of much opposed hike in November 2020.

In a revised Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) signed by the new Chairman of NERC, Engr. Sanusi Garba, on December 30, 2020, the new tariff increase took effect on January 1, 2021, and supersedes the previous Order NERC/2028/2020.

In the new order, the Commission said it considered the 14.9% inflation rate rise in November 2020, foreign exchange of N379.4/$1 as of December 29, 2020, available generation capacity, US inflation rate of 1.22% and the Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) of the power firms to raise the tariff.

The revised Service Based Tariff (SBT) also saw increase in the rates payable by all classes of electricity users unlike the one of November 2020, that exempted low power getters.

This is effective till June 2021 while a Cost Reflective Tariff (CRT) expected to raise the new cost higher will be activated from June to December 2021, the NERC Order revealed.

Recall NERC earlier in December, 2020, notified that it had begun a review for another tariff, which has been completed and had taken effect from January 1, 2021.

NERC had raised tariff for the DISCOs in September but that drew outrages from customers and the organised labour, prompting the Federal Government to suspend it to pave ways for parties to dialogue.

Subsequently, by November 1, 2020, the suspended tariff was implemented after some discounts were given for customers who get 12 hours and above power supply daily.

HURIWA has asked Nigerians to embark on liberation struggles through peaceful protests to demand that the Federal Government reverses this “evil policy”.




Source: News Express

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