• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Electricity tariff: Afenifere says power ministry, NERC forcing Nigerians to pay for their inefficiency

The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organization, Afenifere, has decried the over 200 per cent electricity tariff increase, saying that it will thwart the current administration’s effort at boosting the economy as businesses will shrink.

Afenifere, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare AJayi on Saturday.

Afenifere spokesman then wondered how comment by President Bola Tinubu that there is no driver of the economy that is bigger than the private sector during meeting with some organization’s CEO, some days ago can come to past when the amount to be paid per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity jumped from N68 to N225 just within 24 hours of its announcement.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on April 4 announced that from the following day, electricity consumers on Band A would begin to pay N225 per kilowatt hour as against N68 they have been paying up till then.

Taking a swipe at this decision, Afenifere submitted that it is erroneous to say that only those who are direct enrollees in a particular Band utilize the power being supplied through that band.

“For instance, a Band A consumer is likely to have people in his/her household or place of work where the power is being consumed. Meaning that if 1.5 million is the figure the government has as enrollees on Band A, the number of people who depend on the power coming therefrom would be about five times that figure.

“Besides, by calling on players in the power sector to ensure that people get what they are paying for is like putting the cart before the horse”, Part of the statement read.

The statement further pointed out that virtually everywhere in the country there is the poor supply of electricity and low quality of the commodity sometimes.

Afenifere noted that if relevant government agencies are to be sincere with Nigerians, what they should do is to first ensure regular and efficient supply of electricity before acceding to increase in payment for services that are being poorly rendered.

According to the statement, “A rough calculation indicated that a person on Band A who was paying an average of N50,000 per month (on N68 per kWh) would now have to pay N170,000 for the same service. Note the increase!

“It is noteworthy that the Ministry and its agency, the NERC, are interested in the revenue that would be generated rather than first ensuring regular and efficient supply.

“This is in contradistinction to the claim that the government agencies care about the pains of Nigerians. It is clear that rather than exploring ways to reduce the cost of producing energy thus reducing the pains of Nigerians, the relevant government agencies are passing the price of their own inefficiency on the people.

“For instance, increase in the cost of gas was used as the reason for the hike in electricity tariff.

“Yet, it is clear that even the present cost of producing gas, and by implication electricity, can be made more efficient.

“In other words, both the price of gas as well as electricity would be far lower than what they are presently if the agencies concerned had gone into research and/or take advantage of available information on cost-efficient
production of energies”.