NLC Condemns Increase in Electricity Tariff
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said it has completely rejected and condemned any plan to inflict further pain on Nigerians at this very time of great economic distress.
This was disclosed in a statement released by the congress, entitled: “Increase in electricity tariff by Abuja DisCo – a taunting of the will of Nigerian people gone too far,” signed by Ayuba Wabba, Chairman, NLC.
It would be recalled that a few months ago, the National Assembly suspended tariff hike scheduled for July 1 by the DisCos to the first quarter of 2021 due to the current economic challenges in Nigeria.
Therefore, it was surprising that on Monday Sept. 1, 2020, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) went ahead with the implementation.
In a displeased tone, the NLC said the new plan was “dead on arrival as it will be resisted by the Nigerian working class and people.”
“We wish to state that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) seriously frowns at, completely condemns, and totally rejects any plan to inflict further pain on Nigerians at this very time of great economic distress. The new dribble by the Abuja DisCo is dead on arrival as it will be resisted by the Nigerian working class and people. The other DISCOs should not bother putting their ships of exploitation to sail,” the union stated.
The labour congress stated that DISCOs agenda to further impoverish Nigerians through an increase in tariff has been deregulated.
“It appears that the adamant desire of DISCOs in Nigeria to ram through their ill-conceived agenda to further impoverish Nigerians through astronomical tariff increase amidst a plummeting return on service delivery has now been deregulated. The DISCOs appear to have given themselves the ignoble tasks of taking turns to taunt the will of the Nigerian people.
“Abuja DISCO has adorned the robe of the protagonist in this regard with its announcement of a new tariff plan for electricity consumers within its service area starting from September 1, 2020,” it stated
NLC stated that there was no order from the Federal Government to de-freeze the July suspension.
“This move is in spite of the resolution of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and even the direct orders of Mr. President that the plans by DISCOs to hike electricity tariff should be suspended until further notice. We are not aware of any order by the government or the elected representatives of the Nigerian people de-freezing the order to suspend any plans to inflict more pocket and psychological trauma on Nigerians by way of reckless and insensitive hike in electricity tariff.”
The congress said that since the unbundling of the former PHCN to yield DISCOS and GENCOs, electricity tariffs through the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) there have been increased a number of times without improvement in services.
It said “It is unfortunate that since the unbundling of the former PHCN to yield DISCOS and GENCOs, electricity tariffs through the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) have been increased a number of times without accompanying improvement in services. Each hike in electricity tariff in Nigeria is trailed by huge leap in hours of darkness, de-metering of more Nigerians, exponential rise in incidences of estimated billing, and increased burden on citizens for the procurement of equipment and facilities for public electricity supply amidst other devious methods by DISCOs to cheat, exploit and despoil poor Nigerians.”
The NLC added that it “is also deeply concerned on the deaf and dumb posture of the state electricity regulators – the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). It is important to put on record the fact that NERC would be putting its name on the wrong side of history if it continues to play the Ostrich while a group of portfolio investors make a bloodmeal of Nigerians. Nigerian electricity consumers need the NERC to speak up and act now in defense of the rights of the Nigerian people. A word is indeed enough for the wise.”
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.”
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
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