- Electricity Consumers Won’t Accept Tariff Hike, NLC Warns
The Nigeria Labour Congress on Monday said consumers across the country would not comply with the payment of electricity bill should the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission go ahead with the proposed increase in the tariff payable by power users.
It also warned NERC not to succumb to the pressure mounted on the commission by power firms that had been calling for an increase in electricity tariff.
The President, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who disclosed this while speaking at the public consultation on capping of estimated billing, organised by NERC in Abuja, noted that many rich consumers were no more receiving supply from electricity distribution companies’ because of high tariff.
He wondered how low-income earners would cope, much more when the NERC implemented an increase in tariff, as he cautioned the commission not to make laws that consumers would violate with impunity.
Wabba said, “On our part, anything that will add cost to the consumers at this point in time, certainly, as a consumer and somebody that represents a large constituency, we will not be able to bear the cost. Where we are, the poverty level in Nigeria, I am telling you that many of us cannot afford to pay this exploitative billing.
“A retired DIG called me to say that he used to pay such amount and now this is what he is paying and that he cannot pay it again. Those are people at the higher level. What of those at the lower level, small and medium scale enterprises, like the barbers? Can the cooks pay?”
The labour leader urged the commission and stakeholders in the power sector to think of other options on how to generate revenue, instead of trying to make profit that would not be commensurate with the supply of electricity to the consumers.
“What is the per capital income in Nigeria? Let us be realistic, if not, we will put laws in place that are violated and nothing will happen,” Wabba stated.
He called for a review of Nigeria’s power sector privatisation exercise and noted that it was unfortunate that Nigeria copied the model from India, a country that was also lamenting over epileptic power supply.
The labour leader said, “If we are going on a wrong direction, we should not continue to go the wrong direction, because it will not take us to the ultimate destination. Recently, I was in India. The lamentation we are doing here is what they are doing in India. We borrowed this whole process from India.
“I saw that the same issues we are passing through is what they are passing through. So, if we borrowed this power concept from India and India is even having the same problems we are having, it means we are going the wrong direction. Then we must revisit it so that we get to the point that will take us to the right destination.”
Wabba condemned the exploitative tendencies of power distribution companies with respect to estimated billing, particularly mentioning the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company.
He accused the NERC of treating the Discos with kid gloves, while it had on the other hand been hard on power users in Nigeria, as he stressed that the commission should mandate the power distributors to meter their customers.
The Commissioner, Consumer Affairs, NERC, Moses Arigu, had earlier stated that not all consumers would be metered at the same time, regardless of the implementation of the recently introduced Meter Asset Provider regulation.
According to him, NERC had resolved to deliberate with consumers and other stakeholders what unmetered customers should pay in the meantime.
“The proposed order is expected to be a ‘catalyst’ for the Discos to accelerate or fast-track the deployment of meters to unmetered customers,” he said.
Prepaid Meter is Free, Buhari Warns DisCos, Agents
President Muhammadu Buhari once again warned Power Distributing Companies (DisCos) and their agents selling prepaid meters to electricity customers against the Federal Government directive that meter is free.
Ahmed Rufai Zakar, the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, who represented Buhari at the FGN/NLC-TUC ad-hoc committee on electricity tariff stakeholders held in Ibadan, Oyo State on Wednesday, said President Buhari understood people’s concerns on issues surrounding electricity and was determined to curb and deal with unscrupulous individuals in the power sector.
He said, “We have made it very clear through the regulators direct order as well as intervention from the Ministry of Power that the meters are to be provided to Nigerians at no cost.
“Even for meters that were paid for, there is the directive from the regulator to the discos that they would need to find a way to reimburse those citizens over time.
“In cases where we find any disco or disco representative selling the meters or exploiting Nigerians to be able to get meters by paying, we would take the full measures of the law.
“The President has mandated that these meters must be free. We have also said that they must come from local manufacturers.
“This would create jobs and revive our industry.”
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Nigeria’s Annual Remittance Inflow Estimated at $24 Billion -CBN
Nigerians to Start Receiving Remittance Inflows in Foreign Currency Today
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