Reversal of electricity tariff hike, temporary relief, say Manufacturers

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The manufacturing sector of the country says the Federal Government should also involve the sector and other relevant economic groups in the dialogue it had scheduled with the Labour Centres through the Joint Ad-Hoc Committee to resolve the dissent on the recent electricity tariff hike by the government.

They spoke through their association, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in a statement signed by its Director-General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir on Thursday in Lagos, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent.

They also noted that the manufacturing sector was the major major consumer of electricity and businesses of their members would be most impacted by the anticipated increase.

They said the three -week period given for the dialogue with the Labour was just a temporary relief, because Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission was already contemplating an electricity tariff increase since last year.

The statement by MAN read partly, “The news of Federal Government directive to the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the implementation of the duly performed minor review from N2 per kWh to N4 per kWh till the conclusion of the Joint Ad -Hoc Committee’s work at the end of January 2021 is only a temporary relief.

“Apparently, the three weeks respite is to accommodate the spirit of the agreement between Labour and the Federal Government on tariff increase since last year.

“Even though there is a possibility that the increase may be reconsidered during this period, there is no doubt that the NERC is already anticipating an increase.”

The manufacturers added that any manner of tariff hike at this period would be regarded as ill-timed and not manufacturing friendly.

They said, “This is why the calls for circumspection and pragmatism in the matter of increase remains relevant. No matter what becomes the outcome of the Ad-Hoc Committee’s work, an increase at this time is ill-timed and not manufacturing friendly.

“The Government ought to go beyond the reasons given for the timed suspension, to include consultations with other economic actors, including manufacturers.

“They are the major consumers of electricity and they are the ones whose businesses would be most impacted by the increase.”

The manufacturers further noted that the sector was already groaning under inclement operating environment, including the debilitating impact of COVID-19 disruptions and deteriorating infrastructure, and “it is important for us to avoid this additional burden!”

Recall that the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, has on Thursday directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to inform all Electricity Distribution Companies popularly known as DISCOs to revert to tariffs that were applicable in December 2020.

The Senior Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the Minister of Power, Aaron Artimas disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.

He said the reversal to the old tariff was to promote a constructive conclusion of the dialogue with the Labour Centres (through the Joint Ad-Hoc Committee).

He said, “I have directed NERC to inform all DISCOs that they should revert to the tariffs that were applicable in December 2020 until the end of January 2021 when the FGN and Labour committee work will be concluded.

“This will allow for the outcome of all resolutions from the Committee to be implemented together.”

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