Why FG Won’t Approve Electricity Tariff Increase Yet –Ngige - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Why FG Won’t Approve Electricity Tariff Increase Yet –Ngige

ABUJA - The minister of labour and employment, Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige has dismissed the possibility of a new increase in electricity tariff, for now, saying that the action will ignite another round of labour unrest.

The minister said this after flagging off the extended 774 Special Public Works Programme of the federal government the headquarters of Awka- South Local Government Area of  Anambra State at the weekend.

Ngige said it would be counter-productive for the federal government that is trying to lift the poor masses from their poverty level to at the same time allow an increase in electricity tariff.

He rather warned the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and DISCOs to jettison any proposal to increase electricity tariff.

He noted that the federal government started fresh renegotiation with DISCOs operators on December 31st, 2020, and, warned that that government was ready to bring in new willing operators who can pay off any DISCO operator who is not ready to continue under existing tariff.

The minister further explained that what the federal government is doing with the public works jobs provision was not only to lift its poor masses from their poverty level but to make them know that the government feels for them and also to pump money into the economy.

Ngige said “By this job (774,000 jobs under special public works), we are pumping money into the economy, this money goes into the economy, we will also elevate some people from abject poverty, from not having something at all.

“ That is why I’m saying that the critics who are saying that we are not paying N30,000 Minimum Wage (under the public works programme) don’t know that this is not a permanent job.

“The Minimum Wage Act, exempts jobs of this nature from the N30,000 Minimum Wage, because this one is palliative, and that is also why when people like the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and DISCOs go and increase the electricity tariff even when we have a committee that is working on it at the same time, we frowned at it because if we pay somebody N20,000, and you go and increase electricity bill, and he uses about N15,000 to pay electricity bill alone in a month, it makes no sense.

“ These are poor of the poor; these are poor people, who want to feel that their country remembers them.

“So, I think that I should use this opportunity to warn those DISCOs and National Electricity Regulatory Commission to give peace a chance, we don’t want industrial labour dispute anymore, we are already managing the one we have, and they should let us be, and, we shall also let them be.

“ If they (DISCOs) are not interested in handling their discos anymore, 31st December (2020) is the terminal date for renegotiation, and we have passed it, and we are entering renegotiation. So if you (disco operator) don’t want, you tell us, (so that) we look for people who will recapitalise your discos and you get your money,” the minister warned.

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