Tariff hike: NLC pickets Kaduna Electric
As KEDCO faults unions action
From Sola Ojo and Eddy Akon, Kaduna
KADUNA – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), has commenced nationwide picketing of Kaduna Electric, the operator of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Compan) over the recent 45 increment by National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The new tariff, which took effect from February 1, 2016, would see electricity users paying almost 45 percent increment from N17 per kilowatt to N28 per kilowatt.
Speaking to the media, Chairman, NLC, Kaduna State chapter, Comrade Adamu Ango, said directive was given to them from the leadership of NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC, to embark on picketing on February 8, 2016.
According to him, “this new tariff came into force on February 1, 2016. So, we gave KEDCO one week to withdraw the hike which has elapsed.
“When NLC saw that KEDCO was not ready to comply, we receive directive to picket the company as the first step to warn the company on the impending actions coming after this picketing.
“It was only yesterday NLC learnt that the Federal Government was contemplating calling for a meeting with labour unions in Abuja which did not hold.
“After NLC picketing today, we’ll await further directives from our leadership as to whether the proposed meeting with the FG will hold. This is just for today.
“NLC is only sensitizing Nigerians by telling them that this tariff will not hold. We cannot allow it because it did not follow due process. There are court cases, stakeholders were not involved.
“Even the FG recently came out to say that they’re not aware but supported the tariff hike. NLC will not support the hike because Nigerians are the ones that suffers most.
“We’re paid minimum wage of N18,000 how do you expect a low income earner to pay exorbitant electricity bill couple with other daily necessities?
“NLC is optimistic to follow this to logical conclusion. You cannot govern people by breaking the law. In fact, the law says you must follow due process. So, why are this companies not following due process before increment?
“We’re saying Nigerians should only pay for what is available. We all know that there is no 24 hours electricity in Kaduna here. So, why are you increasing the tariff?
“If there is 24 hours, 7days a week; 30 days in a month why would Nigerians not pay? Nigerians are paying for what they did not consume.
“If all houses in the country are metered, it will be pay as you go.
“NLC is only saying there should be supply before increment. When the supply is not there, the why should consumers pay for what is not available? There is no light and you ask people to pay exorbitantly. Who is fooling who?”, Comrade Ango queried.
But in a swift reaction, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kaduna Electric, Engineer Garba Haruna, had described the picketing as counterproductive, calling on the protesting labour unions to stop the picketing of distribution companies.
According to him, “the current economic challenges facing the country makes the labour’s action ill-motivated and counterproductive. Nigeria cannot afford any disruption to power supply now.”
He said, stakeholders must join hands together to consolidate on the success achieved with the privatization of the power sector.
“For the first time in the history of Nigeria’s power sector, electricity generation has hit an all-time high of 5,075MW, demonstrating the evolution and progress in the capacity of the sector to meet the country’s power needs, a major requirement in the drive to grow the nation’s economy and improve quality of life.
Posted from GoBroadsheet