NSE Urges Transparent Implementation as FG Faces Backlash over Electricity Tariff Hike

Planned Distribution Of Free Meters To Nigerians May Suffer Setback

The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has raised concerns regarding the recent increase in electricity tariffs by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, the society emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in the implementation process of the new tariff.

The event, held to commemorate NSE President Margaret Oguntala’s 100 days in office and highlight milestones achieved, addressed the controversy surrounding the government’s decision to eliminate subsidies on electricity tariffs for Band A category consumers, comprising about 15% (1.8 million) of total power users nationwide.

According to NERC’s announcement, consumers in the Band A category will now pay N225 per kilowatt-hour, a significant increase from the previous rate of N68/kWh, marking a 240% surge. However, this move has faced resistance from various stakeholders, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), who oppose the tariff hike irrespective of consumer category.

During the media briefing, NSE President Margaret Oguntala acknowledged the necessity of restructuring but stressed the importance of a well-implemented framework. She highlighted concerns about transparency in billing processes, accountability of regulatory bodies, and measures to address downtime during repairs on transmission and distribution lines.

Oguntala emphasized the need for differentiated pricing based on consumer segments, suggesting that revenue from industries should subsidize costs for residential areas. She called for immediate sanctions for defaulting Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to ensure value for consumers.

The society also addressed challenges faced by indigenous engineers in bidding for infrastructure contracts, citing high standards imposed by the government and unequal funding compared to foreign contractors. NSE urged the government to review requirements for contracts to enable local engineers to participate effectively.

In a separate update, NSE commended efforts to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company, highlighting its significance in Nigeria’s industrial and technological development.

The NSE’s stance underscores the importance of transparent and accountable governance in navigating policy changes such as electricity tariff adjustments. As discussions continue, stakeholders anticipate collaborative efforts to address concerns and ensure equitable access to essential services for all consumers.

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