ActionAid Nigeria has insisted that the proposed increase in electricity tariff by the federal government will not only erode the purchasing power of Nigerian workers but also further impoverish more Nigerians.
The non-governmental organisation working to eradicate poverty in Nigeria described the timing of the increase as insensitive and ill-timed saying benefits of previous increases are not being felt by Nigerians.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had directed the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to increase their tariffs from Wednesday, September 1, 2021.
Speaking in Abuja, AAN Country Director, Ene Obi said “The increase in electricity tariff is not only ill timed but insensitive to the precarious plight of Nigerians whose lean disposable incomes are already decapitated. ActionAid’s position is hinged on the premise that previous hike in electricity tariffs had not translated to effective and regulatory strategies to manage the impact of such hikes on macroeconomic indices affecting end-users that are currently economically crippled and trapped”.
According to her, with this increase, more people would soon join the more than a hundred million Nigerians living below the poverty line.
“Instead of this tariff hike, NERC should compel all the actors in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry to ensure increased efficiency in the power sector including managing energy loses to make erratic power supply a thing of the past as a way of boosting productivity and Nigeria’s GDP. We urge NERC to rescind this decision and ensure that the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry improves its performance before considering a tariff increase.
“If this purported decision is not reconsidered, the cost of production of basic items produced in the country will increase and this may also lead to job losses in the already ailing medium and small-scale industries in Nigeria. Investors who rely largely on power supply will obviously not be able to break even. To remain afloat, they will have to shift the burden of increased cost of production to the final consumers of their products and services in an economy already choked by inflation,” the Country Director said.