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Hoteliers, others oppose power tariff, petrol price hikes

The Nigerian Hotels Association, the Network for Electricity Consumers Advocacy of Nigeria, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, Hotel Owners Forum, Abuja, and Power Up Nigeria have kicked against increases in power tariff and petrol price.

At a joint press conference in Abuja on Friday, the groups rejected the hikes and demanded an urgent reversal, stressing that the hardship imposed on individuals and businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic would be worsened if the increases in petrol price and electricity tariff persist.

In a speech jointly signed by the presidents of NHA, FTAN, HOFA, Power Up Nigeria and read by the NECAN Secretary, Uket Obonga, the groups said it was unfortunate that the Federal Government had chosen to increase the plights of Nigerians.

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They said, “It is sad to note that while other nations are enacting policies and taking measures to cushion the hardship imposed on their citizens by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has chosen to place an unpardonable burden on Nigerians.

“This burden is not only the electricity tariff increase but also the hike in the pump price of petrol at a time that the people are suffocating under a distressed economy.”

They added, “It is very unfortunate that the Federal Government could allow itself to be misled into believing that tariff increase is the silver bullet that will shoot the sector revenues to Eldorado.”

The groups argued that the root cause of the revenue problems in the power sector had remained unattended to.

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According to them, this was not the first time that power distributors were agitating for tariff hike, as the past Multi Year Tariff Order reviews that ended up increasing the price of electricity did not yield the desired result.

They said, “Recall that as soon as the MYTO 2015 order came into effect on February 1, 2016, the power distribution companies began another quest for further increase.

“They flagrantly disregarded the provisions of the MYTO path and energy charges contained therein, as the Discos went ahead to choose which tariff rate to use in determining bills given to the customers.

The groups argued that the incessant request for tariff increase had become a hypothetical exercise rather than the solution to the sector’s revenue problem.

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“We therefore wish to state categorically that we reject the September 1, 2020 tariff increase as ordered by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission,” they said.

They added, “We call on the Federal Government to rescind the increase because we note that there is nothing put on the ground to cushion the effect of the dual increase of the end user tariff and the pump price of petrol.”

They drew the attention of Nigerians to the fact that the new MYTO order had built performance target which the Discos were expected to meet in the course of the implementation of the order.

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