FG Suspends Implementation of Electricity Tariff Hike
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has suspended the implementation of the minor upward review of the electricity charges from N2 per kWh to N4 per kWh by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
This was disclosed by the Minister of Power, Mr Sule Mamman, via his Twitter handle on Thursday. He noted that this should be halted pending the conclusion of the Joint Ad Hoc Committee’s work at the end of January 2021.
According to him, the development will give room for the outcome of all resolutions from the committee to be implemented together.
He tweeted, “To promote a constructive conclusion of the dialogue with the Labour Centers (through the Joint Ad-Hoc Committee), I have directed NERC to forestall the implementation of the duly performed minor review (which adjusted tariffs between N2 per kWh and N4 per kWh) until the conclusion of the Joint Ad Hoc Committee’s work at the end of January 2021
“Contrary to the allegation that tariff has been increased by 50 per cent, @NigeriaGov continues to fully subsidise 55 per cent of on-grid consumers in bands D and E and maintain the lifeline tariff for the poor and underprivileged.
“Those citizens have experienced no changes to tariff rates from what they have paid historically (aside from the recent minor inflation and forex adjustment).
“Partial subsidies were also applied for bands A, B and C in October 2020. These measures are all aimed at cushioning the effects of the pandemic while providing more targeted interventions for citizens.
“The public is aware that FGN and the Labour Centers have been engaged in positive discussions about the electricity sector through a joint ad-hoc committee led by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity and Co-Chaired by the Minister of State for Power. Great progress has been made in these deliberations which are set to be concluded at the end of January 2021.”
On Tuesday, in compliance with the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPRSA) and the nation’s tariff methodology for biannual minor review, the NERC had adjusted the rates for service bands A, B, C, D and E by NGN2.00 to NGN4.00 per kWhr to reflect the partial impact of inflation and movement in foreign exchange rates.
This action did not go down well with many electricity consumers in the country, who described the government as insensitive. They argued that the increment was coming at a wrong time, especially when Nigerians were still battling the effect of COVID-19 and a similar increase about two months ago.