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Hike in electricity tariff amid economic hardship is evil, says reps minority caucus

The minority caucus in the house of representatives has kicked against the hike in electricity tariff.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an increase in electricity tariff for customers under the B and A classifications.

The regulator said customers who receive 20 hours of electricity supply daily will pay N225 per kilowatt (kW) from April 3.

The new rate, which is about triple the current rate of N66 per kilowatt (kW), comes amid a pervasive economic hardship and galloping inflation across the country.

The nation’s inflation rate rose to 31.7 percent in February, up from 29.9 percent in January.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Kingsley Chinda, leader of the caucus, said the federal government was insensitive for approving an increase in the electricity tariff in these difficult times.

“This abrupt hike, which places an unbearable burden on the already strained populace, exacerbating economic hardships and widening the chasm of inequality, is inhuman and evil,” the statement reads.

“Such a hike, which is over two hundred percent above the rate of inflation, utterly disregards the plight of ordinary citizens, who are grappling with the adverse effects of the removal of oil subsidy, galloping inflation, unemployment, and inadequate access to basic amenities.”

Chinda said NERC’s assertion that the electricity tariff hike only affects consumers in B and A classifications is false.

“The truth has become stark that this is a stark lie. The hike, from data put out by the DISCOS, affects all electricity consumers,” the lawmaker said.

“This habitual resort to deceit and outright lies clearly puts government in a bad light and erodes the trust and confidence of the populace in the government.”

The legislator said the timing is “not only insensitive but also detrimental” to Nigerians.

“It further highlights the disconnect between policymakers and the realities faced by the masses of our people,” he said.

The minority leader said in other countries, governments do all they can to protect citizens against the adverse effects of the “pandemic on economies”.

He said in Nigeria, the government “spends money on frivolities, with no real economic impacts on households or the lives of ordinary citizens”.

“Here, the directive principle of state policy is: go and die”, Chinda said.

The minority caucus asked President Bola Tinubu to prevail on NERC to rescind its decision and prioritise the welfare of the people.

“In solidarity with the Nigerian people, we stand firm in our condemnation of this unjustifiable increase in electricity tariffs and call for immediate action to alleviate the burdens imposed on the populace,” Chinda added.

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