The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the only national federation of trade unions in the country, has strongly condemned the planned increase in electricity tariffs by 40% by July 1st

 The NLC urged the federal government to reconsider its decision for the sake of national security and welfare.

In a statement issued on Thursday by its President, Joseph Ajaero, the NLC described the proposed tariff hike as “insensitive and callous” and said it showed “an organized indifference to the well-being of consumers, especially the poor ones”.

Ajaero explained that the tariff hike was justified by the service providers as a response to the over 100% increase in the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS), the inflation rate of 22.41%, and the exchange rate of N750 to a dollar. 

However, he argued that these factors were not enough to warrant such a massive increase in electricity tariffs. 

He also pointed out that the service providers had failed to deliver quality and reliable power supply despite receiving various forms of support from the government.

“The issue of capacity to pay and quality of service delivery is not only germane but superior to any rationalisation by market logic. The service providers in spite of sundry support have not been able to meet the threshold of 5000 megawatts. Coupled with this, there have been surreptitious increases without notice in violation of statutes,” Ajaero said.

He warned that the new regime of tariff would have no control and would be subject to further increases by August. He also cautioned that the tariff hike would trigger a chain reaction of price increases in other sectors and services, making life unbearable for ordinary Nigerians.

“The rate at which they are going is highly combative and combustible.

 With the contemplation of payment of school fees in tertiary institutions and increases in privately-owned ones in addition to other costs/tariffs on the way, life in Nigeria could truly be Hobbesian,” he said.

He advised the proponents of market economy to be more sensitive and compassionate to the plight of Nigerian workers and consumers. 

He said that unlike other market economies, Nigeria lacked adequate socio-economic safeguards to protect its citizens from exploitation and hardship.

In light of this, our advice is that this proposed tariff hike should be shelved for our collective safety,” he concluded.