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Page 48 2 Tariff hike: Call for outright reversal of privatization By Muhammad D. Eibo Adanu President Muhammadu Buhari in his famous campaigns promised Nigerians…

Page 48 2

Tariff hike: Call for outright reversal of privatization

By Muhammad D. Eibo Adanu

President Muhammadu Buhari in his famous campaigns promised Nigerians to probe and possibly revoke the diabolical privatization of PHCN done by the previous administration but shocked most Nigerians when he asserted in US that he will continue with the exercise he castigated so much even at a point it became his salient political selling slogan but arguably Nigerians are yet to see that.

Perhaps, the man that is well known for keeping his words has become a subject of suspicion. As many are of the opinion that the powerful cabal that ‘purportedly bought the defunct PHCN assets’ now dictates the pace of his government, so he who pays piper dictates the tunes?

In some quarters there are indications that the involvement of the former

President Abdulsalam Abubakar the owner of Yola and Ibadan zones respectively is a great factor militating against the outright reversal.

Another class suggests the PMB wants to maintain the old way of ’chi mu chi’ (CMC) may continue to further impoverish Nigerians, most Nigerian are still shocked about PMB adamant on PHCN issues despites clamors from energy experts who told PMB that PHCN should be not privatized. Why is Buhari keeping mute to this sheer wickedness? By now PMB should those behind these eleven DISCOS, Ikeja and Eko, Jos and Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu, Kaduna and Kano from stories emanating from these DISCOS is enough to cancel the whole sham called privatization.

The electricity supply that was seen into his administration; was so deceptively regular that everyone thought the long-awaited end to Nigeria’s eternal darkness had finally arrived. The honeymoon with the power distribution companies (Discos) has ended.

But the darkness has since returned to Africa’s largest economy on paper only because, regularly power supply is one of the indices or indicators of development. In many communities, even in Katsina State where the PMB hails from, some communities are not connected to the national grid, this day, the power supply is worst than what happened in the dark days of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) as many Nigerians are clamoring for the return of the latter .

Nobody is giving explanations for the return of darkness and why many of the DISCOS staffs are sacked. On this Nigerians are asking PMB, to save the

APC from comatose due to the excessive of the DISCOS who can sack with reckless abandon; and on Pipeline vandalism which is the bane to the supply of gas to the power stations has reduced considerably.

However, the droughts that used to be blamed for the low output from the hydro power plants have given way to torrential downpours that have flooded some cities in northern Nigeria. So, from all ramifications, the darkness might have been fabricated to compel consumers to believe that the power stability of the last three months could only be sustained by high tariff occasioned by same DISCOS owners who are living large.

The Discos are financially bankrupt due their clumsy live style on frivolities at the expense of Nigerians. The cash flow problem of the Yola

Distribution Company was so critical that its management had to be replaced. Others are just a bit better than Yola Disco because, ‘they engaged in massive sack of many Nigerian who voted for PMB. Those who wanted change at all cost; are now in the already saturated labour market.

Many of these Discos are floated by friends and associates who knew next to nothing about the power industry. In fact, they do not know where it pitches electricity wise. They rushed into the business for political expediency and before they realized its capital-intensive nature.

The cash to invest and widen customer base that would enable the Discos influence on the economy of weighing machine is just not there. The Discos are now battling their cash flow problems by squeezing consumers with hike in tariff why PMB must hear this one dole? The Discos are merciless operators. Consumers fund the installation and repair of transformers in their domains same story across the country.

They fund the repair of distribution lines when they shatter. At the end of the day, the Discos determine the power tariff. The Discos have conspired with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to raise power tariff by 40 per cent. A 40 per cent tariff hike could take the cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity hazardously close to N18. Under that circumstance, a consumer in the low income bracket using 100 kilowatts hours of electricity in a month might have to cough out N2, 500 for light bills alone when the extortionists’ fix charge of N750 is factored into is another qualm.

In a nation where some of the state governments still maintain casual workers who collect an indecent monthly pay of N5, 000, the tariff hike is not only callous but lethargically shocking.

The rate of tariff hike is determined by the financial health of the Discos. Consumers living in areas serviced by bankrupt Discos like the Yola Distribution Company have committed an unpardonable geographical crime. Which some quarters are saying is still better than those DISCOS sacking their personnel uncontrollably.

That perhaps is a reflection of its financial health. Ikeja Disco demanded a 39 per tariff hike. After an abracadabra consultation with consumers,

NERC is willing to grant a 40 per cent tariff hike with effect from

November 15. The tariff hike is above all blamed on the falling value of the naira. The naira has depreciated from N160 to the dollar in July 2014 to the current artificially fixed official rate of N197. The parallel market presents a clearer picture of the purchasing power of the naira. As at the close of business last week, the naira was trading in the parallel market at N227 to the dollar.

The labour unions are that known for their pragmatism and ruggedness which is the only line of defense left for the consumers is shamble. Right now

labour’s approach is simply lackluster in nature, where are the likes of

Uncle Joe Ajero? Nigerians are asking? The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has resorted to an unusual permutation of furious utterances with lukewarm action. Somebody should to tell the Discos operators that they would end up killing their own business if they strangle up consumers with unjustified high levy.

Muhammad D. Eibo Adanu sms 08053954802

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