The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has been directed to suspend the planned bi-annual adjustment in electricity tariff until the joint ad-hoc Committee concludes their discussion by the end of January.
The directive was contained in a statement by the Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman, on Thursday, January 7, 2021, to allow for the outcome of all resolutions from the Committee to be implemented together.
NERC had on Monday, January 4, 2021, issued a circular regarding the planned bi-annual minor review of electricity tariff across all bands between ₦2 per kWh and N₦4 per kWh.
The Minister, in the statement, explained that the order is to ensure that a constructive conclusion is reached between the Labour Unions and the Federal Government.
He noted that: “The public is aware that FGN and the Labour Centers have been engaged in positive 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. Great progress has been made in these deliberations which are set to be concluded at the end of January 2021.
Mr Mamman highlighted that: “Some of the achievements of this deliberation with Labour are the accelerated rollout of the National Mass Metering Plan, clampdowns on estimated billing, 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 the creative use of taxes).
He said it should be clear to all that the regulator must be allowed to perform its function without undue interference; adding that the role of the Government is not to set tariffs, but to provide policy guidance and enabling environment for the regulator to protect consumers and investors to engage directly with consumers.
The Minister added that the Bi-Annual Minor reviews to adjust factors such as inflation are part of the process for a sustainable and investable NESI.
Mr Mamman stressed that the information by NERC was misinterpreted by the general public and there was a need for the Government to speak up and ensure sustainable growth in the electricity market.