The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have suspended the planned nationwide strike and protest that was to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020, over the recent hike in electricity tariff and petrol pump price.
This follows the agreement reached between the Federal Government and the organized labour during the meeting held by both parties which started on Sunday night and dragged on till the early hours of Monday morning.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, through a tweet post on his twitter handle.
In the agreement between the Federal Government and organized labour, the hike in electricity tariff is to be suspended for a period of 2 weeks, while the new pump price of petrol is to remain unchanged.
Both parties agreed to set up a technical committee on Electricity Tariff reforms, comprising Ministries, Agencies, Departments, NLC and TUC, which will work for a duration of 2 weeks with effect from Monday, September 28, 2020, to examine the justification of the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff.
This is due to the conflicting field reports which appear different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC, metering deployment, challenges, timelines for massive rollout.
Electricity tariff increase is suspended for 2 weeks
The FG and the Nigerian Labour Unions have agreed to suspend the electricity tariff increase for a period of two weeks.
The Federal Government and the Nigerian Labour Unions have agreed to suspend the electricity tariff increase for a period of two weeks. This was part of the agreement reached between Labour and the Government as they deliberated to avert a nationwide strike that would have grounded an already deteriorating economy.
While the strike was over two major issues, an increase in electricity charges and fuel price respectively, the decision to call off the strike was based on the suspension of the electricity bills. The following terms of reference underpinned the agreement between Labour and the Government.
Terms of reference for suspension of electricity increase for 2 weeks.
Terms of reference “The Terms of Reference (ToR) are as follows: To examine the justification for the new policy on cost-reflective Electricity Tariff adjustments.”
- Both parties are to examine the justification for the new policy on cost-reflective tariff adjustment
- To look at the different Electricity Distribution Company (DISCOs) and their different electricity tariff vis-à-vis NERC order and mandate.
- Examine and advise government on the issues that have hindered the deployment of the six million meters.
- To look into the NERC Act under review with a view to expanding its representation to include organized labour.
- The Technical sub-committee is to submit its report within two weeks.
- During the two weeks, the DISCOs shall suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments. “The meeting also resolved that the following issues of concern to Labour should be treated as stand-alone items:
- The 40% stake of government in the DISCO and the stake of workers to be reflected in the composition of the DISCOs Boards.
- An all-inclusive and independent review of the power sector operations as provided in the privatization MOU to be undertaken before the end of the year 2020, with Labour represented.
- That going forward, the moribund National Labour Advisory Council, NLAC, be inaugurated before the end of the year 2020 to institutionalize the process of tripartism and socio dialogue on socio-economic and major labour matters to forestall crisis.
Implications : The decision reached between the government and labour means the service reflective tariff regime which started on September 1, 2020, is effectively suspended. Customers are therefore no longer required to pay the service reflective tariffs and will revert to the previous MYTO tariffs of 2015.
- By looking at the “different Electricity Distribution Company (DISCOs) and their different electricity tariff vis-à-vis NERC order and mandate” it appears labour might be looking to recalibrating the tariffs for some Discos.
- According to documents on the tariff order published by the NERC, some Discos have tariffs for residential customers that are as high as N62/kWh while it’s just under N54 for others.
- Labour could also get involved in determining the veracity of the tariff bands that determines which customers pay what as electricity tariffs.