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Labour demands complete reversal of power sector privatization

The Organised Labour has asked for the complete reversal of the privatisation of the power sector and recovery of all sold public electricity assets.

The Labour made the demands while picketing the headquarters of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, over the hike in electricity tariff on Monday in Abuja.

The protesting workers carried placards with inscriptions such as, ‘We are not a generator Republic’, ‘IMF, World Bank, leave Nigeria Power Sector alone’, ‘Let the poor breathe’, ‘Give us affordable and constant light’, among others.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, while addressing newsmen said that the privatization of the power sector was a ‘colossal failure’.

DAILY POST reports that NERC had recently announced a hike in electricity tariff across the nation from N65/kwh to N225/Kwh.

The organised labour had rejected the increase in the electricity tariff and therefore called for a reversal.

According to Ajaero, “Organised Labour in Nigeria demands the complete reversal of the power sector privatisation and the recovery of all public electricity assets.

“That is which is sold cheap to largely inexperienced, technically deficient and financially challenged private investors.

“As workers are hit hardest by the increase in electricity tariff. Unlike business people, wage earning workers cannot adjust their income when the cost of utilities are increased.

“The stagnancy in wages amidst increases in electricity and refined petroleum products push workers over and beyond the limits of sanity and survival.

“Small and medium scale businesses which accommodate millions of workers in the informal economy are severely affected by the increases in energy cost.

“This has led to the shutdown of business thus blooming Nigeria’s unemployment market.”

Ajaero insisted that Nigeria workers have rejected the recent increase in electricity tariff and the associated upgrading and downgrading of customers from one Band to another.

He further urged the government to respect the September 2021 agreement with Labour that reinforced the 2023 agreement that the government must halt further increase in the tariff of public utilities until certain conditions were met.

According to him, the conditions include the review of the privatization exercise, de-dollarization of gas supply to electricity generation, distribution of pre-paid meters to all electricity consumers in Nigeria, among others.

The NLC president also noted that before the increase in electricity tariff, NERC would have called for a stakeholders meeting for proper consultation.

Mr Sanusi Garba, Chairman of NERC, commended Labour for its peaceful demonstration in respect of issues affecting the power sector.

“We have taken input from your demands related to the affordability of the tariff issued by the Commission, we have also listened to you and we have listened to the concerns of Nigerians.

“I want to assure you that we will make adequate representation on the policy side on the issue of affordability of tariffs.

“We also took note of your call for the diversification of energy sources and I would like to say that the Zukeru 700 megawatt power plant is already on,” he said.

Labour demands complete reversal of power sector privatization

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