Following the commencement of the new electricity tariff, stakeholders at the manufacturing sector have warned the distribution companies (DISCOs) against flaunting courts.
In July 2015, the Federal High Court in Lagos had ordered the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) not to increase electricity tariff.
Speaking, the president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr Jacob Udemba, said that a court injunction has been obtained by the association and that any act of disobedience would bring the perpetrators to contempt.
“I don’t know about the commencement or implementation of any tariff, but I can tell you that the MAN went to court and obtained an injunction to that effect. Recently, I led a team of the MAN members to a meeting with the NERC in Abuja and we had fruitful deliberations. However, when the issue of tariff was raised I reminded them that the case is already in court. On that note all stakeholders at the meeting agreed to set up a committee made up of the MAN members. One of the terms of reference of the committee is to review the tariff considering our position and whereby an agreement is reached we shall all approach the court for out-of-court settlement.
“So the committee has started work and until we reach a compromise and approach the court any other act is simply contempt and disregard of the law,” Udemba explained.
Also, the acting director-general of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA), Mr Hamma Kwazafa, has said that the new electricity tariff has come at the wrong time.
According to him, “Already, we are being troubled by the foreign exchange, the dollar rate has gone high and we cannot import some of the raw materials for manufacturing, coupled with all these now is the new tariff. As at last year the Nigerian electricity tariff is the highest among the three biggest countries in Africa. Egypt pays four cents per kilowatt (KW), the same as South Africa, while Nigeria pays 15 cents/KW. It is even at this rate that the federal government has increased the tariff. We cannot transfer any price to consumer as already they feel our prices are high because of the high overhead costs in production.
“With this they are going to cripple manufacturing. It appears that this government has come with the view that they want to generate more employment and I don’t see how manufacturing can create more employment when there is no market.”
He noted that with a high tariff it will be difficult for manufacturing to thrive, saying “Already there is a court case that has clearly stated that there should be no more tariff increase but unfortunately it has not been adhered to.
He called on the minister of power to abide by the court rules and stopped any further increase that will bedevil the manufacturing companies.
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