The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC assertion on a new tariff regime for electricity consumers in the country with a hike in the cost of power consumption is a lethargically shocking considering the state of economy whereby many people cannot even feed two times in day. As most Nigerians especially the down-trodden in the society resulted to formulae of feeding such as 1 0 2 or 0 0 1, just to keep the live going pending when manna falls from heaven but here an agency whose pay package is outrageous wishes to further impoverish Nigerians for their selfish interest and that of their co-travelers in the electricity industry. Truly the stones in the middle of a lake do not know the hotness of the sun except those outside.
The removal of fixed charges is applauded across the Country but the hike in the electricity is like give with left hand and receive with right hand, to some energy experts. This is another form of extortion and treachery and it must be resisted by Nigerians because, the DISCOS operators are killing the cost of running small businesses in the Nigeria, yet this government is talking tough on job creation and fight against impunity and corruption when the DISCOS owners sack their workforce on daily basis without anyone demanding explanation but one is sure, Nigerians would very soon ask questions.
The regulatory agency also approved the removal of fixed charges for all classes of electricity consumers. But electricity tariff hike for ineptitude of the DISCO Operators for the massive sack of Nigerians or is to further enrich DISCOS owners for reckless live styles at the expense of the electricity users and President Muhammadu Buhari our revered general is mute over this sheer wickedness?.A statement from NERC, released few day ago, explained further that ‘’from the next billing period, distribution companies will no longer charge their customers monthly fixed charges which are components of the tariff that commits electricity consumers to paying an approved amount of money not minding whether electricity is consumed during the billing period or not’’. ‘With the current development, residential customer classification (R2) in Abuja Electricity Distribution Company will no longer pay N702.00 fixed charge every month, however their energy charge will increase by N9.60. Also, residential customers R2 customers in Eko and Ikeja electricity distribution areas will no longer pay N750. 00 fixed charges. They will be getting N10 and N8 increase respectively in their energy charges. Similarly, the burden of N800.00 and N750.00 fixed charges would be lifted off the shoulders of Kaduna and Benin electricity consumers.’ So, NERC all along knew something is wrong with that policy of extortion and the government is quite why?*
These consumers will see an increase of N11.05 and N9.26 respectively in their energy charges. Also the new tariff regimes for commercial customers’ classification C2 in Ibadan and Enugu will no longer pay fixed charges of N17, 010, 00, N22, 14.00. Their energy charge will increase by N12.08 and N13.35 respectively. ‘’Although the new tariff regime comes with an increase in energy charges, all electricity consumers, residential as well as commercial, will no longer pay fixed charges, so their total bills will depend on the electricity they actually consume and may be reduced when they conserve electricity. Consumers will no longer be spending money every month to pay for fixed charges even when they do not receive electricity in their homes and business’’. “The objective of the new tariff is to enable prudent consumers to save money on electricity bill as they can now control their consumption and not pay monthly fixed charges”.
President Muhammadu Buhari thanks so much for the change in the country there was hitherto in comatose. Besides this cost saving element, the new tariff regime comes with renewed commitments by the electricity distribution companies, discos to rapidly improve the quantity and quality of electricity supply. This is more of a political statement; as this does not reflect the realities of things in the electricity sector as the increment was done without consultation with the relevant stakeholders in the electricity sector, another minus and anti development in NERC’s policies.
With no iota of doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated a high level of lucidity, honesty and fairness in handling some political issues in the country so far, especially, the recent Bayelsa and Kogi elections; and the PRO Biafran activities in the South East. Mr. President has indeed handled those issues with maturity and caution and this shows that the man is on course. And the way and manner he has responded to criticisms from the opposition is also remarkable. His posture towards the promotion of freedom of speech in the country is stupendous and laudable. His position on insecurity, corruption and impunity, and the commitment to return Nigeria to its lost glory is heartening. Without chauvinism or abhorrence, any well meaning Nigerians must applaud Buhari’s effort to give the nation self-actualization.
However, it is time we call a spade a spade. The way President Buhari has handled the issue of power sector is certainly not in the best interest of the Nigerians people. The whole World could not understand why Buhari dwelled so much on the issue of $2 Billion arms deal and trying to sweep the $20 Billion PHCN Privatization saga under the carpet, no wonder the NLC President quickly reminded Mr. President that Nigerians are watching with keen interest, on the so ‘called probe’ which must be extended to the power sector.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, has frowned at the lackadaisical attitude of the towards the power sector probe. It is no longer news that those that who ‘purportedly said, they bought the nation’s property are close allies of the former government of Jonathan administration and Mr. President, PMB is aware that he that goes to equity must come with a clean hands. The gargantuan political task before the APC government in the area of power sector, particularly the DISCOS Operators who take solace sacking staff verbally and no one is asking questions why?
This is representative democracy, things must be done in accordance with the law because, Nigerians are yearning to see the change mantra slogans translate into positivism in all sectors of the economy in their domain, so, no stone should be left unturned in this quest for a better and flourishing Nigeria. *
On the Economy, everyone knows that PMB has a gigantic task before him. And it appears that Buhari has not recognized that he who controls the Power sector and the labour Market controls the economy, hence the power sector should not be left in the hands of the politicians.