Emerging report reaching Page 36 on Monday morning, indicates that the President Muhammadu Buhari Federal Government has suspended the implementation of the new electricity tariffs for one more week.
The Federal Government had earlier on September 28, suspended the already implemented tariffs by two weeks, after it held a meeting with the Organised Labour, which is opposed to the latest hikes in petroleum and electricity prices.
The new decision was taken on Sunday, during a meeting between the Federal Government team, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and the Leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC.
The meeting, which held at the Presidential Villa banquet hall, in Abuja, adopted the resolutions of the Ad hoc Technical Committee on the electricity tariffs hike, reached on October 8, and also agreed on a work plan for the implementation.
They also agreed to distribute one million meters, to bridge the metering gap in the country, in the first instance.
The distribution is expected to commence this week, in furtherance of the Acceleration of National Mass Metering Programme.
The Programme is expected to distribute a total of 6 million meters to Nigerians free of charge, based on the funding by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The cost of the meters will be recovered from the electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos.
The meeting also agreed that the meters should be procured through local meter manufacturers and assemblers.
Reading the communique at 11:40pm, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said: “The two-week extension for electricity tariffs which expired this week, will be extended by another one week.”
The parties agreed to reduce the tariffs by 10 percent for band A, 10.5 percent for band B, and 31 percent for band C.
“The immediate relief would be provided to citizens for a 2 to 3-month period (not later than 31st of December, 2020), being the timeline for the conclusion of an extended scope of work for the Technical Committee”, it noted.
They also agreed to use the Value Added Tax, VAT, proceeds from the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, to secure varying levels of relief in customer tariffs across bands A, B, and C, ensuring that all customers receive some form of relief.
Ngige said that the approximately N1.7 billion per day subsidy that was being spent on the NESI prior to the September 1, tariff transition, would be inserted into the national budget.
In implementing payment discipline measures for the DisCos, the government agreed to ensure that the salary for electricity workers shall be protected in the revised payment waterfall structure for the NESI.
The meeting tasked the NERC to ensure that the personnel costs of electricity workers should be placed on the first-line charge, on the primary collection account.
The process is expected to commence from October 12, 2020.
The Ad hoc Committee was directed to work from October 12, to ensure that all outstanding issues are implemented.
The meeting was adjourned till October 25.
More news later…