The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has outrightly rejected the increase of electricity tariffs announced this week by the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC).
At the meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the NLC held at the Paschal Bafyau Labour Housen on Wednesday , it said after exhaustive deliberations, the union “noted the discordant tunes coming out from different quarters, including government on fuel subsidy removal and pump price increase”.
NLC further stated that in other countries of the world, products prices are falling as a result of the continuing crash in the price of crude oil in the International market. In our country CWC is shocked that we are canvassing for price increase.
According to the NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba and General Secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, the NLC, they said, “Re-affirmed its opposition to any price increase. It therefore resolved to mobilize Nigerian to resist any increase.”
They observed that “there have been discordant tunes from State Governors on the issue of the National Minimum Wage. Whereas, at one moment, they deny that there are plans to reduce the minimum wage, at another moment, they threaten to sack workers or reduce the minimum wage;
“The National Minimum Wage of N18,000 has been rendered valueless by the mindless devaluation of the Naira and rising inflation. Moreover, it is legally due for a review;
“It is a national law which no governor can unilaterally review. Oppose any attempt by any governor to reduce or tamper with the minimum wage
Mobilise all members of the Congress to any state that reviews downward the minimum wage or resorts to laying off workers.”
The NLC contended that “a 45% upward increase in electricity Tariff at this point in time with the challenges in the economy, which have adversely reduced the purchasing power of ordinary Nigerians and slowed down businesses, including manufacturing, is not justifiable.
“The electricity distribution companies have continued to exploit Nigerians by estimated billing systems for the majority of consumers, while deliberately refusing to make pre-paid metres available.
“It is clear therefore that the 45% Tariff increase is an additional heavy burden on consumers and will have a telling effect on business especially manufacturing,” they stressed.
NLC demanded “that prepaid metres be made available free to all consumers, and expressed disappointment over the plan by government to re-introduce toll gates on our highways and roads.
“Recalling the enormous public resources expended in the past on the construction and demolition of toll gates, CWC observed that the proceeds from toll collection were never effectively deployed for the maintenance of roads, but lined the pockets of favoured collectors. Convinced that proceeds from any new toll collections will suffer the same fate, CWC disagrees with the planned re-introduction of toll gates,” the NLC submitted, Thisday reported.