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Senator Nwabaoshi dares Akpabio over controversial NDDC contracts

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The Senate Committee Chairman on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwabaoshi, has challenged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio to send list of 53 NDDC contracts allegedly awarded to his companies to the anti-graft agencies for investigation.

The lawmaker dared the minister after he mentioned Senator Peter Nwabaoshi and others as beneficiaries of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts in some dailies on Monday.

Nwabaoshi described the Minister’s allegation as baseless, bogus and outright falsehood.

My attention has been drawn to a publication in the Punch Newspaper of Monday, 27th July, 2020, ostensibly quoting the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio whilst responding to the ultimatum given by the Hon. Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, to name the beneficiaries of his bogus claim during his appearance before the House Committee on NDDC investigative hearing that 60% of NNDC jobs were awarded to National Assembly members.

In the said publication, Mr Akpabio alleged that I was awarded contracts for 53 NDDC projects.

“I wish to state unequivocally that this allegation has no bearing with the truth and challenge Mr Akpabio to send so-called list to anti graft and other security agencies if he can substantiate the apparently baseless allegation.

Indeed I would have made further comments but for the fact that the matter is currently before two competent courts of law.

However, suffice it to say that this unsubstantiated allegation is in line with Mr Akpabio’s well-known agenda to continuously blackmail me so as to keep diverting public attention away from the senous mismanagement of the NDDC by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) under his supervision and under the guise of a phantom forensic audit that has no operating timeline.”

Nwabaoshi further lampooned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, while charging him and the Interim Management Committee to account for N81.5 billion which they spent in five months rather than diverting attention.

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Governance

Electricity Tariff Increase: NLC Threatens ‘Industrial Resistance’

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Minimum Wage: Kayode Fayemi reveals what Governors are willing to pay

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened industrial resistance following the increase in electricity tariffs by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The Congress, in a statement released late on Tuesday night and signed by the President, Ayuba Wabba, said the Federal Government should reverse the increase immediately or face an “unprecedented industrial resistance by Nigerian workers.”

They condemned the action of the Federal Government noting that the new increase will affect manufactures and producers of “Made-in-Nigeria” goods and services who will find it greatly difficult to cope.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that this tariff hike would sound the death knell for many manufacturing outfits in Nigeria as many of them would resort to either mass lay-off of workers and or direct importation of finished goods.

“In light of the heightened burden that this hike in electricity tariff imposes on Nigerian workers and people, we urge the Federal Government to quickly withdraw this uncanny New Year Gift or face an unprecedented industrial resistance by Nigerian workers,” Wabba said in the statement.

The increase in electricity tariff was announced on Wednesday following an adjustment of tariff by the NERC.

The approval was given in a Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) signed by the new NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, and obtained by Channels Television on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today denied the increase. He noted that what was done was to adjust certain bands and to ensure that certain persons who are supposed to be on some bands are not wrongly put on some other bands.

See NLC’s full statement below…

While Nigerians were trying to embrace the warmth of the New Year, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in its ‘wisdom’ decided to slam the country with the cold hug of yet another astronomical increase in electricity tariff. This increase would be the umpteenth time in a space of less than one year.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) vehemently condemns this attempt to start the Year 2021 for Nigerians on the grinding stone. It is even colder that this tariff increase was announced without recourse to the negotiation process that the government and Organized Labour in Nigeria signed up to about three months ago.

The representatives of Organized Labour in the committees set up during negotiation with the government to engage on issues in our electricity and petroleum sectors heard of this insensitive hike from the media like other Nigerians. This is indeed a stellar performance in negotiation in bad faith by the Federal Government.  This is completely unacceptable to the working people of Nigeria.

It is very awful and indeed cruel for government to introduce yet another killer electricity tariff amidst the soaring inflation and poverty rates in the country. This hike also comes in the face of the renewed onslaught of COVID-19 where workers and citizens expend their meagre resources on healthcare both for preventive and therapeutic response to the renewed COVID-19 challenge.

We really fear for the impact of this new increase on manufacturing in Nigeria. Certainly, the producers of “Made-in-Nigeria” goods and services will find it greatly difficult to cope with this new tariff. Before now, many manufacturing concerns and Small to Medium Enterprises were already reeling in the great strain as a result of the negative growth occasioned by the first wave of the COVID pandemic in 2020.

There is no gainsaying the fact that this tariff hike would sound the death knell for many manufacturing outfits in Nigeria as many of them would resort to either mass lay-off of workers and or direct importation of finished goods.

Finally, we are bothered by the doublespeak in the NERC communique announcing this hike in tariff. In one breath, NERC denied any new increase in tariff. In another breath, it announced that electricity tariff would be adjusted from N2 per kilowatt/hour to N4 per kilowatt/hour – a 100% tariff increase. The statement in quick reversals also lumped consumers in Band D and E under the new tariff. This volte-face is contrary to our agreement with the government which excluded Band D and E from further increases in electricity tariff. This clearly paints a picture of the deliberate mission by the government to hoodwink and take Nigerians for a ride.

Overall, this increase in electricity tariff apart from negating the agreement we reached with the government in September 2020 will further imperil our local economy, lead to the loss of millions of jobs by Nigerian workers and trigger wider social discomfitures.

In light of the heightened burden that this hike in electricity tariff imposes on Nigerian workers and people, we urge the Federal Government to quickly withdraw this uncanny New Year Gift or face an unprecedented industrial resistance by Nigerian workers. Nigerians have bled enough already. We will bleed no more!

Comrade Ayuba Wabba

President NLC

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Federal Government Didn’t Increase Electricity Tariffs – Keyamo

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Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, on Tuesday, noted that the Federal Government did not increase electricity tariffs but adjusted some bands for users to pay what they are supposed to pay.

Keyamo disclosed this while speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today programme, on Tuesday night.

The Minister further stated that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission did not consult him or other members of the committee working on the new electricity tariffs before announcing the development

Earlier, it was reported that NERC increased electricity tariffs. The commission while giving the reason for the increment said it considered the 14.9 per cent inflation rate rise in November 2020 and foreign exchange of N379.4/$1 as of December 29, 2020.

When asked whether the electricity distribution companies have the approval of the government to increase tariffs following the NERC directive, Keyamo said,

I am the chairman of the sub-committee consisting of the Federal Government side and Labour side that has been mandated to go round the country to interact and consult with stakeholders and the discos to find an acceptable and cost-reflective tariff that should be paid by Nigerians. We are still in the process of carrying out our assignment, we have not finished it.”

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