Tariff increase: NLC, TUC protest rocks Kaduna Electric offices as firm kicks

By Isa Kajuru, Kaduna


Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Kaduna staged a protest against the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariffs  by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).


During the picketing exercise that took place on Monday, members of the organized labour shut major offices of the Kaduna Electric in Kaduna, the state capital.


The members had stormed the various offices, especially the zonal headquarters of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) and locked the gate.


A former Deputy President of the NLC, Comrade Issa Aremu, who led the unions to picket the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, said the move became necessary after efforts to make the Federal Government shelve the idea of tariff increment failed.   


According to him, Nigerians are paying more than they consume for electricity supply just as he wondered why the federal government should increase the tariff when the supply has not improved.   


They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently revisit the report of the 2014 National Conference and implement the holistic recommendations for the power sector instead of allowing the same unhelpful posting of high tariff by underperforming generating and distribution companies. 


The labour unions also want the president to urgently review the privatization contracts between the Federal government and Gencos and Discos and give them a two year time-frame to stabilize and provide efficient power supply to Nigerians before any increase in tariff can take place.                            


While lamenting that the increment at this time negates the present biting economic recession, the unions said there has been no significant improvement in service delivery since the privatization of the power sector.


The labour unions also picketed Kawo, Barnawa, Rigasa and Makera business districts of the distribution company.


Meanwhile, the Managing Director/CEO, Kaduna Electric, Engineer Garba Haruna called on the protesting labour unions to stop the picketing of distribution companies, saying, their action is counterproductive.


The Kaduna Electric boss said, “The current economic challenges facing the country makes the labour’s action ill-motivated and counterproductive.” Saying Nigeria cannot afford any disruption to power supply now.


Engineer Garba who spoke to journalists in Kaduna yesterday however said, all stakeholders must join hands together to consolidate on the success achieved with the privatization of the power sector.


According to him, “For the first time in the history of Nigeria’s power sector, electricity generation has hit an all-time high of 5,075MW, demonstrating the evolution and progress in the capacity of the sector to meet the country’s power needs, a major requirement in the drive to grow the nation’s economy and improve quality of life”, he contended.


He reiterated that the new tariff regime recently approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission is not only about tariff increase, but a comprehensive master plan aimed at having a cost reflective tariff for the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.


“The new tariff will enable the actors in the electricity value chain (generation, transmission and distribution companies) to cover the cost of their operations and attract further investment in the power sector. It shall also guarantee sustainable growth in the power sector and ensure stable and qualitative power supply across the country.” 

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