LAGOS – Some artisans in Lagos on Thursday condemned the increase in electricity tariff, saying that it negated the Federal Government’s policy on inclusive growth and self-employment. They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that the new electricity tariff was a setback to small scale entrepreneurship and individual wealth creation. Alhaja Afusat Popoola, the market leader of Ajeromi Frozen Food Market Association in Ijora, a suburb of Lagos, said the increment was suicidal judging from the poor electricity supply nationwide. According to Popoola, there is no justification for the increment in the face of dwindling sales and erratic power supply.
“We cannot afford to pay this new tariff because we do not have power supply here in the market. “Most of the time we are losing a lot of money from rotten foods due to erratic power supply,” Popoola said. She said it was illogical for the federal government to allow the new investors focus on returns on investment without offering a moratorium for electricity supply to stabilise before talking about new tariff. Mr Wasiu Osho, a welder, at Ijeshatedo in Surulere described the new electricity tariff as outrageous considering that he paid N10, 000 monthly to sustain his business. “Does this new tariff mean I will pay N50, 000 monthly now, where will I get the money? “In fact they should come and remove their wire from pole. We are not enjoying electricity yet they want us to pay more, never,” he said. Mr Thomas Chukwu, a Cyber Café operator at Jakande Estate, Isolo, urged the government to resolve all the challenges facing the sector before increasing the tariff. “There are lots of challenges facing the sector ranging from lack of gas supply to infrastructure dilapidation. “Most of the transformers are faulty in our Estate and needed to be upgraded. “When they have done all these, then we know that we have to accept the hike in tariff,” he said. Alhaja Kafayat Raji, a food seller in Ojuelegba, said that she spent N60,000 monthly on petrol and N7,500 on public electricity supply monthly. Raji said that under the new tariff, she would be compelled to pay about N37, 500 monthly for inept and irregular electricity supply. “If electricity supply is regular, I will not be spending my hard earned money on petrol. “If they improve on power supply, I do not mind to spend the N60, 000 on electricity bill,” she said. Also speaking, Mr Friday Dada, a barbing saloon operator at Ilasamaja, urged government to be entrepreneurship and business-friendly by reversing the increment in national electricity tariff. Dada said the raise in tariff would have been better if the challenges militating against regular electricity supply were eliminated. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had on May 26, announced an increase of between N1 and N5 in the electricity tariff. The new tariff announced by the NERC Chairman, Dr Sam Amadi, took effect from June 1.
According to Amadi, the new tariff is in line as provided for in the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO).