The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says no tariff increase has been approved by the commission yet.
Mr Usman Arabi, General Manager, Public Affairs (NERC) made the clarification in a statement issued on the agency’s website, obtained bynewsmen in Lagos yesterday.
Arabi said:” The attention of the NERC has been drawn to the publication in several electronic and print media that end-user electricity tariffs have been increased following the approval of the minor review (2016 – 2018) of the 2015 Multi-Year Tariff Order on Aug. 21, 2019.
“We wish to provide guidance that the minor review implemented by the commission was a retrospective adjustment of the tariff regime released in 2015.
“This is to account for changes in macro-economic indices for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 thus providing certainty about revenue shortfall that may have arisen due to the differential between tariffs approved by the regulator and actual end-user tariffs.
“The commission, therefore, wish to notify the general public that no tariff increase has been approved by the Commission vide the order.”
He said, however NERC, in the discharge of its statutory responsibilities enshrined under the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, would continue to undertake periodic reviews of electricity tariffs in accordance with the prevailing tariff methodology.
According to him, in all instances of such reviews and rule making, the commission will widely consult with stakeholders and final decision will take due regard of all contributions.
However, electricity consumer groups in the country have kicked against increasing tariff for end-user customers.
The groups, Energy Consumer Rights and Responsibilities Initiative and the All Electricity Consumer Protection Forum told newsmen in Lagos that increment in electricity tariff was unjustified based on present realities.
Mr Sural Fadairo, National President, Energy Consumer Rights and Responsibilities Initiative, noted that increasing the cost of electricity was not the panacea to Nigeria’s energy crisis.
“If they want to increase tariff because the Distribution Companies are under remitting due to debts by consumers, that will not solve the problem.
“If people are refusing to pay now because they are disputing their bills will they now pay if it is further increased? “What they need to do is to meter all electricity customers, so that we can end the issue of estimated billing.
“So, from the consumer point of view, we are totally against any increment because power generation and supply has not improved significantly in the country, “he said. Also, Mr Adeola Samuel-Ilori, National Coordinator, All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum, said the increase was totally uncalled for in all ramifications.
He said: “The basis for such increase at this time can’t be justified in that consumers have not been metered and they still purchase transformers and other line materials by themselves with attendant extortion via estimated billings. “ All these are not taken into consideration and extensively dealt with before contemplating tariff increase”.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has carpeted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal government over what it termed “astronomical rise” in the tariffs payable for electricity supply across the country.
HURIWA, a frontline rights advocacy claimed that the Buhari-led government was working “day and night” to unleash devastating economic strangulation through unsustainable reviewed electricity power tariffs on Nigerians most of whom are unemployed, hungry, sick and poor.
In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the rights group warned that the multiplier effect would be felt immediately due to spike in the costs of living.
The group said the focus of the Federal government in the beginning phase of the year should not be to impose grave hardship on the populace just coming out of the seasonal festivity of Christmas and New Year but any good government should be more focused on how quality education can be delivered to millions of the children of Nigerian suffering families that would be returning to schools in the next few days.
HURIWA said: “The Federal government should be focused in this New Year on how to improve health care and on how to curb the internal corruption that has destroyed the so called schools feeding programme instead of the Federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari working day and night to unleash devastating economic strangulation through unsustainable reviewed electricity power tariffs on millions of Nigerians most of whom are unemployed, hungry, sick and poor.
“President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration should be focused on restoring security of lives and property which is the primary duty of government and for which it has failed to discharge instead of rushing to introduce the wicked policy of Electricity power hike in January of a fresh DECADE.”
HURIWA recalled that the 11 electricity distribution companies (DisCos) have the mandate of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to effect the tariff increase from April just as these are as follows: Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Jos Electricity Distribution Company, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company and Yola Electricity Distribution Company.
HURIWA specifically gathered that consequent upon the NERC directive, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) residential customers R3 will now pay N47.09 per unit as against the current N27.20, while Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) customers in R3 category will pay N36.92 per unit instead of N26.50. Commercial customers C3 category will start paying N38.14 per unit instead of N24.63 and industrial customers of the IKEDC D3 category who are currently paying N25.82 per unit will henceforth pay N35.85 per unit.
HURIWA recalled that by the hike, the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company residential (R3) customers who currently pay N27.11 per unit will start paying N48.12 per unit just as the National Electricitu Regulatory Commission said the order was pursuant to Section 32 and 76 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act aimed at providing a cost reflective tariffs that ensures prices charged by licensees are fair to consumers.
However, disagreeing with the explanation offered by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission for the current hike, HURIWA said that the “decision by the Electricity regulator to capitulate to the Machiavellian type selfish hike demand by the private operators of the weak, incompetent and inefficient electricity power supply subsector was against public interest and therefore will endanger public good and should be voided or resisted if government fails to listen to the voices of the people.”
HURIWA reminded the president that the voices of the people is the voice of God and if he wants to get the pulse and the heartbeats of the real people, then he the President should disguise himself as a commoner and drive to one of the rural markets in any part of the Federation so he can dissect properly the monumental dimension of mass poverty afflicting millions of Nigerians.
“HURIWA believes that the import of any public policy must be grounded on the utilitarian satisfaction of the greatest percentage of the population of the good people of Nigeria. Any public policy churned out specifically to enrich some privileged elitist class to the detriment of millions of the good people of Nigeria hasn’t met the constitutional threshold because of the centrality of the need for all government’s actions, policies and projects to be people centred and to benefit public good. The astronomical hike in the purchasing prices of the virtually non available and the erratic electricity power to less than 40% of the Nigerian population is directly offensive to the overall public good. In section 14 of the Nigerian Constitution the Federal Republic of Nigeria is legally created to be patterned as a State based on the Principles of democracy and Social Justice. Subsection 2(a) of section 14 provides that ‘Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this constitution derives all its powers and authority. Just as subsection 2(b) of section 14 states that ‘the security and Welfare Of The People Shall Be The Primary Purpose Of Government.
“HURIWA believes that this is the most reckless policy to be imposed wickedly on the Nigerian people who are currently going through some of the most primitive and painful economic adversity in about 40 years. For a federal government to introduce such a callous tariff hike in the beginning of a new year either shows the government officials as Shylock Machiavellian and mean hearted selfish politicians who are insensitive and irresponsible to such an extent that the only policy they have brought UP to wish Nigerians a happy New year is to impose a strange but strangulating electricity tariffs without first and foremost ensuring that the distribution companies in the power electricity sector who got licences to distribute ELECTRICITY carry out their businesses in compliance with best global practices. The distribution companies lack transparency and acountability just as they are wayward in terms of corporate social responsibility to the people of Nigeria.
“These DISCOS are known to have been lavishly gifted with billions of Naira of Public fund by the Central Bank of Nigeria to improve their services but in the last five years it is evident that even the few Nigerian families who enjoy intermittent electricity power supplies are victims of price extortion through irregular billing methods without proper metering standards. Most electricity customers still don’t have meters to be able to accurately reconcile their consumption. Why is the Federal government through the National Electricity Regulatory Commission not concerned about decisively tackling the challenges associated with metering by the DISCOS rather than being so unnecessarily fixated with over exposing the marginalised electricity power consumers to untold hardships and further impoverishment in the hands of the profiteers masquerading about as licenced Distributors of Electricity power to NIGERIANS? Also why the hurry to increase the tariffs for services that are poor and inefficient? The Federal government must be compelled to reverse this anti people policy that will only increase mass poverty and will not in any away address the disturbing phenomenon of mass unemployment that became worst under the current Federal administration since the last 5 years?. Nigeria had only a year ago become the World’s capital of poverty with over 90 million people being absolutely poor. So how will they generate the money to pay these extremely hifh costs of electricity power supply which is so few and far between.”
CAS Lauds Troops For Exceptional Performance In South-East Operation
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has lauded Nigerian Air Force (NAF) troops for exceptional performance in ongoing Joint Task Force in the South-East code-named “Operation Udo Ka II”.
Abubakar said this yesterday in Enugu during his maiden visit and tour of operational and training assets and facilities within NAF Ground Training Command (GTC), Enugu.
He noted that NAF troops had done exceptionally well and recorded series of success in the joint operation meant to keep the South-East safe and secured for all.
The CAS noted that the GTC Command was highly important to NAF as it housed the ground component (non technical component) as well as a unit of air component necessary to ensure the attainment of the mandate of NAF.
He said: “Today, we are in Enugu, which is the host of the GTC Command in our maiden visit and we are here to interact with the NAF personnel, see the facilities and infrastructure on ground.
“We are also here to encourage the personnel to continue to do the good job they had been doing before now.
“The GTC Command and the Air Training Command are key to all of our activities in NAF and the two commands ensure we have the adequate and skilled manpower for all our activities and operations.
“I am also here to strengthen our activities within Operation Udo Ka II, which Enugu is the headquarters, and see how we can achieve greater successes more than what we are having now and ensure that South-East is totally secured.”
He disclosed that 750 personnel were currently undergoing training and would be graduating between December 2023 and January, 2024.
“These training are important to us in terms of our operation; and the current number is very significant amount of manpower to be injected into our operations and other activities in the country,” he said.
On the inspection in the new GTC Command Headquarters, new 553 Base Services Group (BSG) Headquarters and BSG Annex; Abubakar said that he was quite satisfied and impressed with the pace, level and quality of work done already.
“I have taken out time to inspect the projects and asked questions about the projects and I tell you that I am satisfied with what are on ground and all our assets and facilities are well maintained and protected,” he said.
The NAF boss commended NAF officers, airmen and airwomen in GTC Command for “doing a good job and keeping the flag flying high” as well as extolled their sacrifices and commitment to duties as well.
“I am very happy for their performance. We at the NAF headquarters, we are doing all we can to make sure they have all the necessary support and equipment as well as welfare and accommodation to carry out their jobs effectively,” he said.
He assured NAF personnel of doing more by providing all necessary infrastructures to ensure the maximum working of the GTC Command.
The CAS also inaugurated a renovated airmen’s club and new Mrs Rakiya Abubakar Children’s Park as well as inspected the water treatment and reticulation system and the hospital within NAF Base, Abakpa in Enugu.
UNIBADAN Lecturer Wins Best Thesis Dollar Prize
The Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), University of Lagos, has announced Dr Muhammad Ribadu as winner of this year’s Rahamon Bello Best Ph.D thesis in African Studies award.
The Director of the institute, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye, made the announcement in a statement issued to newsmen yesterday in Lagos.
Ribadu, of the University of Ibadan, will be rewarded with a total of 1000 dollars, a plaque and a certificate.
Falaiye said a total of 18 entries for the 4th edition of competition were received from various universities in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa
He gave the title of the winning thesis as: The Social Context of Gentrification in Lagos State; Ph.D (Jan. 2023) Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan.
“The first runner up for this competition was Oluwaseyi Popogbe, currently a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Crawford University in Ogun.
“The title of his thesis is: Social Exclusion and Poverty in Selected Coastal Slum Areas in Lagos State; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) Department of Economics University of Lagos.
“The second runner up position went to Dr Charles Akwen, currently a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Lagos.
“Akwen’s thesis is titled: Notions of Identity in the Literary Creativity of Odia Ofeimun and Yang Mu; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) English Literature, University of Lagos,” the director stated.
He said that both the first and second runners up would be awarded plaques and certificates in recognition of their contributions and hard work.
Falaiye noted that the competition was in honour of Prof. Rahamon Bello, who was the 10th Vice Chancellor of the university, at the time the institute was inaugurated.
The prize money is usually donated every year for the award by friends of Prof. Bello.
Falaiye said that Dec, 6, had been fixed for the presentation of the awards.
The Tide source reports that the award was first presented in 2020.
States, LGs Lack Infrastructure To Manage Ecological Fund, Shun Queries – Perm Sec
The 36 states of the federation and the 774 local government councils have no structure in place to manage Ecological Fund.
The declaration was made in Abuja, yesterday, by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Malam Shehu Ibrahim.
Ibrahim made the declaration at an interactive session with the House Representatives Committee on Ecological Fund.
He said since states and local governments began to share the fund with the Federal Government they had not been able to put structures in place to manage their share.
The Ecological Fund is an intervention fund by the Federal Government to address the multifarious ecological challenges in various communities in the country.
Ibrahim told the house committee that the sharing of the fund among the three tiers of government followed a court decision.
He said governors and local council chairmen never welcomed queries about how they deployed the ecological funds.
“It is a `no-go’ area,’’ he quipped.
“They don’t want to see officials of the Ecological Project Office near them; so we cannot ask them how they spend the money,’’ he added.
Ibrahim said also that all motions by the National Assembly regarding intervention on ecological project matters had been treated.
“The Ecological Project Office acts expeditiously on documents sent to it to solve problems; it looks at some of the gaps within the motion and tries to fill the gaps, and we have had more than five of such motions.
“ The Ecological Project Office does not handle funds; it only appraises projects and makes recommendations to the president,’’ he said.
The permanent secretary explained that it is the Ministry of Finance that manages the fund and the projects.
He stressed that it was a misconception that the Ecological Project Office is in charge of funds and at liberty to decide on where projects would be sited with the money in its coffers.
He said whenever there were interventions; the Ecological Project Office informed affected communities and went with the contractor to hand over the projects to the community.
This is to enable the community to take ownership of the intervention and communicate their observations to the project office.
Responding, Rep. Sani Jaji (APC-Kaura Namoda/ Birnin Magaji), chairman of the committee, said there should always be stakeholders engagement before embarking on ecological fund intervention projects.
He noted that the projects were stakeholders’ projects and failure to include the stakeholders would always lead to security breach.
“So many things happened with UNICEF’s polio vaccine rejection; but when it included stakeholders, people began to accept the vaccine.
“It is critical to involve stakeholders and ensure equity. Security cannot be the reason why you won’t execute projects in certain parts of the country.
“The perception about your office is that there is money out there; so you need to change that perception and let people know that you have limitations about the execution of projects,’’ he said.
Jaji challenged the Ecological Fund Project Office to provide the needed advice to the president to enable him to take the correct steps.
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