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Electricity tariff hike: We are addressing labour’s demands, says minister

Electricity tariff hike: We are addressing labour’s demands, says minister
May 14
19:39 2024

Adebayo Adelabu, minister of power, says the federal government is addressing the concerns raised by the labour unions over the electricity tariff hike.

On Monday, members of organised labour picketed the headquarters of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the federal ministry of power and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) in Abuja.

The protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and other affiliate groups was replicated across Nigeria.

The labour unions were protesting the increase in electricity tariffs for customers in the Band A category.

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On April 3, NERC approved an increase in the electricity tariff for customers in the classification — from N66 to N225 per kwh.

Organised labour is calling for a reversal of the increase and a return to the negotiating table.

Addressing State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday at the end of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting, Adelabu reaffirmed the government’s commitment to upholding democratic principles, including the right to peaceful protest.

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He said the unions’ demands about the electricity tariff would be given due consideration.

“Let me make that clear. President Bola Tinubu’s administration is also a listening government,” he said.

“We have heard demands; we’re going to look at them; we’ll make further engagements; and I believe we’re going to reach a peaceful resolution with the labour because no government can succeed without the cooperation, collaboration and partnership with the labour unions.

“So, we welcome the peaceful protest and I’m happy that it was not a violent protest. They’ve made their positions known, and the government has taken in their demands, and we’re looking at it.”

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Adelabu said the federal government is making efforts to strengthen the power grid, citing the construction of a 93-kilometre transmission line in the south-east and the acquisition of transformers and emergency resolution systems.

He appealed to organised labour and the entire populace to be patient with the administration in its planned-out strategy to restructure the power sector.

The minister said the current administration is aware of the decayed state of the nation’s power sector, which he said had been so for almost 60 years.

“My appeal again is that they should please not derail or distract our transformation plan for the industry,” he said.

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“We have a clearly documented reform roadmap to take us to our desired destination, where we are going to have reliable, functional, cost-effective, and affordable electricity in Nigeria.

“It cannot be achieved overnight because this is a decay of almost 60 years, which we are trying to correct.”

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The minister said the initiatives are aimed at enhancing the overall resilience of the power infrastructure, which has been a long-standing concern for both the government and the public.

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