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 Manufacturing Activity Contracts in September Amid Weak Macro Fundamentals
Manufacturing Sector Contracts in September to 46.7 Index Points Amid Economic Uncertainties
Nigeria’s manufacturing sector contracted again in the month of September, according to the latest report from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index that measures the healthiness of the sector revealed that activities contracted to 46.9 index points in the month of September. Below the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion.
The CBN report also stated that out of the 14 subsectors surveyed during the month under review, only 4 subsectors reported growth in the following orders: electrical equipment; transportation equipment; cement and nonmetallic mineral products. While the remaining subsectors reported declines in the following order: petroleum & coal products; primary metal; furniture & related products; printing & related support activities; food, beverage & tobacco products; textile, apparel, leather & footwear; chemical & pharmaceutical products; fabricated metal products and plastics & rubber products. Only the paper product subsector was described as stable.
Accordingly, production in the manufacturing sector stood at 47.3 index points in the month with activities expanding in just 5 subsectors out of the 14 subsectors surveyed. Eight of the subsectors contracted in production while activities in one subsector were unchanged.
Demand in the sector also contracted at 46.4 index points as demand dropped for the fifth consecutive month in September. Only six of the 14 subsectors surveyed recorded growth. The remaining eight declined.
Job creation in the sector declined with activities as the employment index stood at 44.1 index points, suggesting that businesses in the sector are not creating new jobs with plunging demands amid falling consumer spending.
Broad-based economic uncertainties continued to dictate productivity in Africa’s largest economy as a series of weak macro fundamentals, counterproductive government policies and COVID-19 negative impacts plunged business sentiment.
COVID-19: CBN Injects N3.5 Trillion into the Economy
CBN Stimulates the Economy With N3.5 Trillion as COVID-19 Impact Thickens
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday said it has so far injected N3.5 trillion into the Nigerian economy following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Africa’s largest economy.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, disclosed this on Tuesday after the nation’s monetary policy committee meeting.
So far, he said N216.87 billion was injected through the real sector funds; COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility N73.69 billion; AGSMEIS N54.66 billion; pharmaceutical and healthcare support fund N44.47 billion; and creative industry financing initiative N2.93 billion.
Breaking down expenditure, under the real sector funds, he said 87 projects that comprises of 53 manufacturing, 21 agriculture and 13 services projects were funded.
While in the healthcare sector, 41 projects which include 16 pharmaceuticals and 25 hospitals and health care services were funded.
Under the Targeted Credit Facility, he explained that 120,074 applicants had received financial support for investment capital.
“The Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) intervention has been extended to a total of 14,638 applicants, while 250 SME businesses, predominantly the youths, have benefited from the creative industry financing initiative,” he said.
In addition to these initiatives, he said, the CBN was set to contribute over N1.8 trillion of the total sum of N2.3 trillion needed for the Federal Government’s one-year Economic Sustainability Plan, through its various financing interventions using the channels of Participating Financial Institutions.
Meanwhile, the monetary policy committee lowered interest rate by 100 basis points to stimulate growth and broaden economic productivity. The benchmarkt intrest rate was lowered from 12.5 percent to 11.5 percent.
Labour to Begin Strike as FG Refuses to Back Down on Petrol Price, Electricity Tariffs
Labour to Embark on Industrial Action to Force FG to Reverse Increase in Petrol Price, Electricity Tariffs
The sudden increase in prices of fuel and electricity tariffs despite the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the Nigerian people has forced the Nigerian labour union once again to announce an industrial action to compel the Federal Government to emulate other economies easing COVID-19 impacts through various palliatives and measures.
Labour union on Tuesday set Monday for what it described as “unprecedented mass action” and “total strike” to get the government to reverse the hike in petrol pump price and the increased electricity tariffs.
At a meeting with members of the National Administrative Council, Presidents and General Secretaries, the Nigeria Labour Congress National Executive Council (NEC) agreed to embark on a total strike against what they described as anti-people policy.
While the ultimatum given to the federal government by Trade Union Congress (TUC) expired on Monday, TUC has extended it till Monday in line with NLC announced industrial action.
NLC President Ayuba Wabba, who read the communique of the meeting, said: “NEC resolved to reject in its entirety the issue of hike in electricity tariffs by almost 100 per cent as well as the fuel price increase in the name of full deregulation.
“This decision is premised on the fact that these twin decisions alongside other decisions of government including the increase of VAT by 7.5 per cent, numerous charges by commercial banks on depositors without any explanations will further impoverish Nigerian workers and citizens.
“Therefore, this increase, coming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is not only ill-timed but counter-productive.
“NEC also observed that the privatisation of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line has not yielded any positive result. Whereas, the entire privatisation process, the entire sector was sold at about N400 billion, we are surprised that government within the last four years injected N1.5 trillion over and above the amount that accrued from this important asset.
“Therefore, NEC came to the conclusion that the entire privatisation process has failed and the electricity hike is actually a process of continuous exploitation of Nigerians.
“On the issue of the refineries and also the increase in the pump price of PMS, this particular issue had been on the table for more than three decades and the argument has not changed.
“Whether it is the name of full deregulation or subsidy removal, what is obvious is that it is fuel price hike and this has further eroded the gains of the N30,000 minimum wage because it has spiral effects which include the high cost of food and services and the reduction in the purchasing power of ordinary Nigerians.
“While demanding that our three refineries should be made to work optimally, NEC also concluded that government has business in doing business because the primary purpose of governance is about the security and welfare of the people and if in other countries, governments are maintaining refineries, and they are working optimally for the benefit of the people, Nigeria cannot be an exception.
“In the light of these, NEC decided to endorse the two-week ultimatum given to the Federal Government to reverse those obnoxious decisions and also pronounce that the action proposed by the Central Working Committee is hereby endorsed by the NEC that 28th of September should be the date that those decisions should be challenged by the Nigerian workers, our civil society allies and other labour centres.”
“We’ll meet. We don’t want anything that will cause more financial pain to workers.”
Speaking on the matter and the reason for industrial action, TUC’s President Quadri Olaleye and Secretary-General Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, urged to Nigerians to get ready for the “unprecedented mass action”.
TUC said it resolved to work with the NLC and civil society allies because of the magnitude of the situation. Hence, it suspended the previously planned strike to join force with NLC and others.
“Consequent upon this, the ultimatum which should expire by midnight of today (yesterday) has been shifted to 28th September 2020 for effective and maximum effect.
“We want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector, to bear with us while the industrial action lasts.
“There is no need for the pains we bear. It is a needless one. They ask us to tighten our belts while they loosen theirs. Services are not rendered yet we are compelled to pay estimated bills.
“You will recall that this government during its electioneering campaigns in 2014 told the world there is nothing like subsidy. We were told that they will build refineries. All that is history now.
“We run a mono-economy and any hike in fuel automatically will have an adverse effect on us, yet successive governments tow that path because they are not creative.
“As at today, about eight states are yet to commence the payment of new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment even though the President signed it into law on April 18, 2019. We have written letters to the governors and also engaged them in dialogue but all to no avail. Sometimes we wonder if these people have a conscience at all.
“The Congress hereby appeals to all Nigerians to get ready for the unprecedented mass action against corruption, obnoxious policies, rape and other violent offences, breach of the collective agreement, unemployment, etc.
“We also call on the USA, UK, Germany, Spain, etc to support our struggle by placing indefinite visa ban on our political leaders whose stock in trade is to loot and impoverish the masses and the country. We can no longer take it. Enough is enough!”
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