Published January 8, 2021
Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government on Thursday ordered the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to suspend the implementation of the January 1 , 2021 nationwide electricity tariff hike .
Minister of Power , Sale Mamman , directed the commission to revert to the December 2020 power tariff, as he also revealed that the government was currently subsidising 55 per cent of on -grid consumers in selected bands .
Mamman further noted that the government never hiked tariff by 50 per cent , as erroneously reported by some sections of the media ( not The PUNCH ) .
On why the tariff hike should be reverted , he explained that the government and labour had been engaged in discussions about the electricity sector through a joint ad -hoc committee led by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity and co -chaired by the Minister of State for Power.
Mamman said in a statement he personally signed that great progress had been made in these deliberations which were set to be concluded at the end of January 2021 .
He noted that some of the achievements of this deliberation with labour were the accelerated rollout of the National Mass Metering Plan and clamp downs on estimated billing .
Others include improved monitoring of the Service Based Tariff and the reduction in tariff rates for bands A to C in October 2020 ( that were funded by a creative use of taxes) .
“ To promote a constructive conclusion of the dialogue with the labour centres through the joint ad- hoc committee, I have directed NERC to inform all Discos ( distribution companies ) that they should revert to the tariffs that were applicable in December 2020 until the end of January 2021 when the Federal Government / labour committee work will be concluded,” Mamman stated .
He added , “ This will allow for the outcome of all resolutions from the committee to be implemented together .”
The minister said the government did not raise tariff by 50 per cent , rather it had been subsidising about 55 per cent of low income power users.
He said, “ Government continues to fully subsidise 55 per cent of on- grid consumers in bands D and E and maintain the lifeline tariff for the poor and underprivileged .
“ Those citizens have experienced no changes to tariff rates from what they have paid historically , aside from the recent minor inflation and foreign exchange adjustment. ”
Mamman stated that partial subsidies were also applied for bands A , B and C in October 2020 .
He said these measures were all aimed at cushioning the effects of the pandemic while providing more targeted interventions for citizens .