The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, has said the Federal Government had authorized the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to suspend the newly hike in electricity tariff.
The Commission had, on Tuesday, hiked the electricity tariff from N2.00 to N4.00. While giving reasons for the increased tariff, the Commission said it considered the 14.9 percent inflation rate rise in November 2020 and foreign exchange of N379.4/$1 as of December 29, 2020.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, also said electricity tariffs were not increased. Instead, some bands were adjusted to make consumers pay what they are supposed to pay.
The hike in tariff, which varies, based on different consumer classes, took effect from January 1, 2021. Labour unions did showdown over the increment. They said the government was unsympathetic to Nigerians’ difficulties because there was an increment last two months.
But in the statement on Thursday, the minister 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.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, said it was yet to carry out the minister’s directive by asking the DISCOs to reverse the electricity tariff to December 2020.
However, Mamman directed NERC to suspend the new hike until the Committee concludes its work by the end of January.
According to him, “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. Significant progress has been made in these deliberations, which are set to be concluded at the end of January 2021.
Mamman noted that the suspended tariffs would be reviewed after deliberations with the Joint Ad Hoc Committee at the end of January.
“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.”