The Trade Union Congress has again opposed the moves by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission and the electricity distribution and generation companies to increase the electricity tariff.
The TUC President, Mr. Bala Kaigama, who made this known in an electronic mail on Sunday, said the organised labour embarked on protest against the increment because it was against the citizenry.
This came as the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Youth Development, Segun Adekola, called for a state of emergency in the power sector.
Kaigama said, “The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria reiterates its position against moves by the Nigeria Electricity Commission, distribution and generation companies to increase electricity tariff.
“The move is anti-people and it lacks every sense of logicality hence the series of protest and picketing of offices of NERC and electricity distribution companies throughout the country.
“At a meeting held with officials of NERC March 17, 2016, the congress described as lame the argument in some quarters that an act of the National Assembly actually empowers the commission to unilaterally increase tariff and that the act cannot be tampered with even by the Federal Parliament.
“For us, any act or policy that does not consider the poor masses is undemocratic and evil. It is evil because it further impoverishes the masses.”
He insisted that it was unacceptable for the NERC and the firms to give “abominable” bills to Nigerians without first making them partners if they needed their contributions in the businesses.
Meanwhile, Adekola said the emergency would save the nation’s economy from collapse.
The lawmaker, who moved a motion to that effect on the floor of the House, stated this in a statement on Sunday.
According to him, any government that wants to lay a solid foundation to revive a dying economy must take power sector seriously and plan to reinvigorate it.
He said, “It is unfortunate and disheartening that all reforms being geared toward repositioning of the sector for better efficiency are being frustrated by some individuals.”
The lawmaker, representing Ekiti South Federal Constituency, also expressed dismay over the continued relocation of big foreign companies from Nigeria to other neighouring countries due to power inefficiency.
According to him, the development has worsened the unemployment rate in the country.
He added, “Our economy is deteriorating on daily basis and the present administration is looking the other side, whereas without improved power, any other policy formulated, will continue to remain a shadow of itself for a long time.”
“It is unacceptable and shameful for a country like Nigeria to be struggling to generate 4,000mw level of electricity while country like South Africa and Iran, which were at the same level of power generation with Nigeria in 1960s, have gone beyond 40,000 mega watts as of today.
“Therefore, the president must look inward and declare a state of emergency in the sector in order to salvage the economy. Even in the exploration of the crude oil, electricity plays a major role.”
“Nigerians are fed up of promises without any feasible efforts to that effect. It is high time the Federal Government knew what the masses needed most.”
As part of the efforts to revive the sector in the past, the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria was unbundled in November 2013 into 18 companies – six generation companies, one transmission company and 11 distribution companies.