The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC say it has received with great concern and apprehension a press statement credited to the Minister of Power, Engineer Saleh Mamman in which he debunked the recent increase in the cost of electricity by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission as untrue.
in a statement, NLC president Ayuba Wabba said If the intention of the Minister is to allay the fears of ordinary Nigerians that they would not start the New Year on the pedestal of intensified hardship, then the contradictions in his statement only succeeded in reinforcing the anxiety by Nigerians.
The NLC president said the statement signifies that Nigerians are yet again faced with a year where the biggest pre-occupation of government appears to be the deflection of the worst economic vicissitudes on citizens.
Wabba noted that in one breath, the Minister debunked any increase in electricity tariff especially for Nigerians who are grouped under Band D and E tariff structure, in the same statement, the Minister admitted that there have been adjustments in what customers across the five bands pay, while attributing the increase to minor adjustments owing to current inflation levels and forex realities.
Labour said the import of statements like this is that they do not only confuse citizens but also confound them on the genuineness of government intentions and actions.
Labour warns that the events of the past three months have severely tested the confidence of Labour in the ability of government to negotiate in good faith and keep to its promises, while arguing that the decisions taken by government since negotiation in September 2020 in tinkering with the electricity tariff is anomalous with the spirit and letters of agreement reached.
Labour vows not to return to the negotiation table without firm assurances and commitment by government that future negotiations will be done in utmost good faith.
Labour further demands that all commitments made by government to Organized Labour during recent negotiations be respected and a cessation to unilateral actions that only undermine the spirit of social dialogue and erode the confidence of Nigerians on the intentions of government.