In Nigeria, disgruntled protesters took to the streets on Monday to express their unhappiness around the new Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 (MYTO2015), which came into effect on 1 February 2016.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) implemented the new electricity tariff in 11 distribution companies, to integrate the fixed charge component in the adjusted MYTO.

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company has seen the tariff jump from N14.70 ($0.07) to N24.3 ($0.12) per kWh for residential customer classification (R2).

The need for this tariff hike has been deemed necessary by Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who was in Lagos for the second edition of the stakeholders’ monthly meeting, The Guardian reported.

The minister said that this increase would help drive the country’s much needed improved energy supply network.

“We need productivity and not protest at this moment,” the minister said.

Sustaining protests over tariff

The General Secretary of the NLC in Abuja, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, told the Guardian that labour would also work with professional players such as lawyers, manufacturers and transporters to sustain the picketing after the Monday protest in order to reduce the 45% increase.

Ozo-Eson said: “The NLC, TUC and our allies will have established a committee that will ensure that the picketing is sustained because we know that government would think we are doing this for a short moment. To show that we are on it for the long haul, we have established a committee headed by the National President of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Yasin Najeem, to ensure that every step is taken to sustain the struggle.”

Addressing the gathering in Ikeja, Vice President of the NLC, Amaechi Asugwuni, said: “The increment at this time negates the present economic situation and an attempt to further impoverish the poor masses. The Discos promised to give Nigerians meters in 18 months but they failed. This is corruption and it is ripping Nigerians of their money.

“It is inhumane and disheartening that the power situation in the country has not improved and consumers are asked to pay more.

“We are speaking for the people of Nigeria and are saying no to the new tariff and to darkness. As a result of the unfair situation, we are ready to shut the economy if there is no reversal as demanded.

He added: “However, since the court has not given the go-ahead on tariff hike, but has asked the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend any form of tariff increment, there is no basis for the minister to go against the court order. It is prejudice by law and there are penalties for defaulters.”

The increase is needed

Fashola, explained that the current sector was not performing in accordance with the demand and has asked all Nigerians to understand why this increase is so necessary. He described it as a ‘bitter pill’ that should be swallowed by the populace, The Guardian reported.

“I understand that people who have been disappointed over a long time feel a sense of concern that again tariffs have been increased but this should have been done from day one. I don’t know why the government of yesterday was not courageous enough to pronounce the price and this was why you have the MYTO every two years, giving the impression that price would be increased every two years.

“What we have done now with NERC is to give a 10-year tariff and if you look at that tariff painstakingly, you will see that in about two years from now, it will begin to go down on a sliding scale, and whatever price the tariff offers now is a lot cheaper than diesel, inverter, petrol and other sources of private power generation.

“It is a painful pill and I must appeal that we all swallow it as I did it because we are not left with many choices and this is the first major decision in power by this administration,” he said.

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