The Organised Private Sector (OPS), including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has expressed concerns over the new electricity tariff planned to begin on February 1 as supply has not improved and the pending court order.
The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr Frank Jacobs, said the body is waiting to see whether the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) would disregard court order by going ahead to implement the new tariff in February. He said any attempt to implement the tariff would force some manufacturers out of business.
He said: “It is not all the manufacturers that can set up a power plant. Many are using power from the grid for production together with generators. Do you know how much the 45 per cent increase in tariff translates to in naira in a week, month, quarterly, and yearly? It is a lot of money, and I do not think the sector can cope with this,” he added
Jacobs said the situation is appalling, as many operators have been forced out of business in the last 10 years, due to inadequate power supply.
Director-General, Lagos LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said the new tariff would worsen the condition of the operators of the OPS in the country, if urgent measures are not taken to address problems bedevilling the power sector.
He said despite the removal of fixed charges in December, last year, by the commission, consumers are still groaning under huge cost of accessing electricity for production activities.
Also some corporate and individual consumers are not oblivious of the fact that they will face difficulties meeting their energy obligations as from February this year. Already, consumers are groaning over what they described as ‘making frivolous payment’ in form of bills to the power distribution companies (DISCOs) since they are unable to access power regularly.
Some consumers, who spoke to The Nation, expressed concerns over the new tariff, that have been increased by 45 per cent, by the commission, to reflect the cost of producing electricity in the country.
A lawyer, Mrs. Ponle Oluwarotimi, said consumers are heading for a more challenging period, going by the decision of NERC to implement the new tariff, albeit, disregarding the order of the House of Representatives stopping NERC from introducing and implementing its tariff.
She said the country is experiencing poor power supply, coupled with the fact that the economy is bad. “For the Commission to justify the 45 per cent increase in tariff, there must be an improved power supply in Nigeria. Given the fact that the sector is in a dire strait, with no hope of improving soon, consumers must be ready to pay huge bills, while at the same time, experience poor power supply,’’ she said.
She said the situation is unhealthy for the economy that is struggling to grow.
Source: The Nation Nigeria