THE federal government has reversed the recent adjustment of electricity tariff for selected sections of electricity consumers in the country.
The ICIR had, on Tuesday, reported how the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) announced an adjustment rate for service bands A, B, C, D and E “by NGN2.00 to NGN4.00 per kWhr to reflect the partial impact of inflation & movement in forex.”
But on Thursday, Saleh Mamman, Nigeria’s minister of power, through a statement by his senior special adviser, media and communications, Aaron Artimas, informed all Electricity Distribution Companies(DISCOs) to revert to tariffs that were applicable in Dec. 2020.
The decision, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), was to constructively conclude the ongoing dialogue between Labour leaders and representatives of the government.
“I have directed NERC to inform all DISCOs that they should revert to the tariffs that were applicable in December 2020 until the end of January 2021 when the FGN and Labour committee work will be concluded.
“This will allow for the outcome of all resolutions from the Committee to be implemented together,” he said.
Mamman, who decried report of a 50 percent increase by sections of the media, noted that the government had continued to subsidise electricity consumers in bands D and E.
“I would like to affirm that these reports are inaccurate and false. It is unfortunate that these reports have led to confusion with the public.
“On the contrary, government continues to fully subsidise 55 per cent of on-grid consumers in bands D and E and maintain the lifeline tariff for the poor and underprivileged.
“Those citizens have experienced no changes to tariff rates from what they have paid historically, aside from the recent minor inflation and forex adjustment. Partial subsidies were also applied for bands A, B and C in October 2020,” he said.
While stating that these measures were all directed towards cushioning the economic impact of COVID-19 on citizens, the minister noted that the Buhari-led federal government and the labour union had been engaged in positive discussions about the electricity sector through a Joint Ad-hoc Committee.
He said that the committee was led by Festus Keyamo, minister of state for labour and productivity and co-chaired by the minister of state for power, Goddy Jedy-Agba.
According to him, progress had been made in these deliberations set to be concluded at the end of January.
“Some of the achievements of this deliberation with Labour are the accelerated rollout of the National Mass Metering Plan and clampdowns on estimated billing.
“It also included 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),” he said.
The power minister stated that the regulator must be allowed to perform its function without undue interference.
He said that the role of the government was not to set tariffs but to provide policy guidance and an enabling environment for the regulator to protect consumers and for investors to engage directly with consumers.
According to him, bi-annual minor reviews to adjust factors such as inflation are part of the process for a sustainable and investable Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI)
He also stated that the regulator must be commended for implementing the subsisting regulations while putting in place extensive actions to minimise the adverse impact on end-user tariffs.
“The administration is committed to creating a sustainable, growing and rules-based electricity market for the benefit of all Nigerians.
“The administration and the Ministry of Power will also continue to devise means to provide support for vulnerable Nigerians while ensuring we have a sustainable NESI,” he said.
At a time the Nigeria government is debating whether to increase electricity tariff or not, the Ghanaian government announced in a statement on Wednesday that it is providing 3-months free electricity units to its lifeline customers.
Lifeline customers are those who consume less electricity compared to other consumers.
Kwame Agyeman-Budu, managing director of the Electricity Company of Ghana Limited, who made it known in an issued statement on Tuesday, said the gesture was part of the government’s extended COVID-19 electricity relief.
Kindly take note pic.twitter.com/gpgCIwNTek
— Electricity Company of Ghana Ltd (@ECGghOfficial) January 5, 2021
He noted that the initiative will absorb 100 percent electricity bills of the lifeline customers from January to March.