The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the recently adjusted electricity tariff.
The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, made gave the direction in a statement on Thursday.
This comes after NERC on Tuesday, increased the electricity tariff payable by power consumers across the country. The hike in tariff which varies, based on different consumer classes, took effect from January 1, 2021.
The agency blamed the N2 to N4 adjustment in tariff on inflation and movement in foreign exchange rates. Labour unions have threatened showdown over the development, saying the government was insensitive to the plight of Nigerians, considering the fact that there was an increment last two month.
However, the minister in a statement on Thursday, said there was a committee working on the new electricity tariff regime and the committee should be allowed to complete its work before any development or adjustment.
Mamman, therefore, directed NERC to suspend the recent increment until the committee concludes its work by end of January.
He said, “The public is aware that the Federal Government and the Labour Centers have been engaged in positive discussions about 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. Great progress has been made in these deliberations which are set to be concluded at the end of January, 2021.
“Some of the achievements of this deliberation with Labour are the accelerated rollout of the National Mass Metering Plan, clamp downs 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 a 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