The Federal Government has ordered the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to suspend the recent adjustment in electricity tariff charged by distribution companies.
It indicated that the suspension had become imperative to give room for completion of the ongoing engagements between the apex government and labour unions aimed at improving the sector through needed policies.
As stated, the ongoing discussions on the electricity sector through a joint ad-hoc committee led by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity and Co-Chaired by the Minister of State for Power, had been making progress which the adjusted traffic may disrupt its gains if left unchecked.
The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, said that since the ongoing discussion would be ending by end of January as planned, there was no justification by the electric regulatory body to adjust kilowatt-hour from NGN2.00 to NGN4.00.
Through a statement made available to The Guild on Thursday, the minister maintained that adjusting the tariff amount to the breaching of agreement with Nigerians who are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the ongoing deliberations.
He listed some of the achievements from the delibrations to include the accelerated rollout of the National Mass Metering Plan, clampdowns on estimated billing, improved monitoring of the Service-Based Tariff, and the reduction in tariff rates for bands A to C in October 2020 (that were funded by creative use of taxes).
“It should be clear to all that the regulator must be allowed to perform its function without undue interference. The role of the Government is not to set tariffs, it is to provide policy guidance and an enabling environment for the regulator to protect consumers and for investors to engage directly with consumers. Bi-Annual Minor reviews to adjust factors such as inflation are part of the process for a sustainable and investable NESI.
“To promote a constructive conclusion of the dialogue with the Labour Centers (through the Joint Ad-Hoc Committee), I have directed NERC to forestall the implementation of the duly performed minor review (which adjusted tariffs between N2 per kWh and N4 per kWh) until the conclusion of the Joint Ad Hoc Committee’s work at the end of January 2021.
“This will allow for the outcome of all resolutions from the Committee to be implemented together. The Administration is committed to creating a sustainable, growing, and rules-based electricity market for the benefit of all Nigerians,” the statement said.