The Federal Government and organised labour reconvened after the expiration of the two weeks suspension of a threatened strike by organised labour and have agreed to provide a tariff relief of N10.20 per Kilowatt-Hour for the next 3 months and also distribute 6 million free meters across the country. The organised labour was on the verge of embarking on industrial action over agitation on the hike in electricity tariff on September 28 but didn't go through after the new tariff was earlier suspended for two weeks.
The two (2) weeks of the suspension of the electricity tariff ended at midnight on October 11, on Sunday 11th of October, FG and Labour reconvened and agreed to a two (2) phase approach to help resolve issues affecting the electricity sector in the medium term, whilst providing relief to citizens within a period of 2 to 3 months which will not exceed December 31 2020.
Chairman of the committee, Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour disclosed in a communique that "Following extensive analyses, it was realised that VAT proceeds from the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) could be used to secure varying levels of relief in customer tariffs across bands A, B and C, ensuring that all customers receive some form of relief during this difficult time. Cumulatively the per kWh relief that will be provided to customers in bands A, B and C is N10.20 perf kWh, which will be distributed across the bands. The relief will be in place for the 2 to the 3 month period required for the Technical Committee to conclude its extended scope of work. It should be noted that Bands D and E tariffs were not changed and this freeze will remain in place."
While reacting to this development, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige said the resolutions adopted would be implemented by all stakeholders within the week by Sunday, October 18. On the acceleration of National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), it was adopted that for the distribution of the first one million meters, the Ministry of Power was to liaise with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA). He added that they are to start work by October 12 to accelerate the roll-out of meters with a target of December 2020.
The minister, therefore, said that the meeting agreed that it would work towards bridging the metering gap. “The Federal Government committed to provide six million meters and NERC is expected to compel the DISCOs to meet the metering needs of the customers,” he said.
Mr Ngige also said on the resolution adopted for the Local procurement for Meters for NMMP that organised labour would to work with the government to improve and ramp up local production capacity. He also said that the resolution adopted on salary protection for electricity workers was that NERC should ensure that the personnel costs of electricity workers should be placed on the first-line charge on the Primary Collection Account. He added that the process would commence from Monday, October 12.
“On the issue of mandatory refund for any overbilling during system transition by the DISCOs that NERC should implement immediately within October; While on the freezing of customer band migration during the interim period that the revised NERC order will include specific guidelines on freezing band migration,” he said.
Mr Ngige also noted that the resolutions adopted for Phase two for the extensive review of key sector reforms include that the ad hoc committee would work from October 12 to December 12, to ensure that all outstanding issues are resolved and implemented. He also said the resolution adopted on gas pricing was that the Group Managing Director was co-opted into the Technical Committee to assist with the purpose.
He added that on resource capacity, the Managing Director, NEMSA, is also co-opted into the Technical Committee to work with NERC on the metering assignments.
In further assurance, the Honourable Minister of Power, Sale Mamman stated that Nigerians will only pay for the energy they consume and also a plan to distribute the 6 million meters to homes and business is underway.