Urge government to improve power supply before raising feesArticle | May 10, 2012 – 3:10am | By Eki Toju

Some artisans and Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs), in Lagos on Wednesday, decried the proposed increase in electricity tariff.

Dr. Sam Amadi, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), said earlier in April, that the hike in electricity tariffs would become effective on June 1. 

Amadi said that the new tariffs have been worked out in a manner that Nigerians, especially those in the rural areas, would not be over-burdened.

The entrepreneurs however lamented that already, erratic power supply had crippled their business operations and despite the fact that nothing had been done to improve the quality and supply of power, tariffs were about to be increased.

Kunle Michael, a barber in Lagos, said he is already spending over N2,000 daily to run his generator for alternative power, and that the Federal Government should improve power supply before introducing new electricity tariff.

“`Barbing business depends more on electricity. Presently, due to poor power supply, l rely mainly on generator. If we have stable power supply, we will not have problem paying any tariff since we will make more money to pay for utility services,” he said.

Isiaku Sulaiman, a welder, advised the Federal Government to encourage the state governments to invest in the independent power project, to boost power supply in their respective states. He added that decentralisation of power generation and distribution was the only way to end the problem of epileptic power supply.

“I hardly enjoy four hours electricity supply daily and this had made me to operate on three generating sets.Government should address issues of estimated billing system to allow customers to have value for their money,’’ he said.

The welder said that increase in electricity tariff was not an issue to be debated, urging the government to stabilise electricity supply before introducing the new tariff.

Olaolu Joshua, a businessman, urged government to invest more in the power sector to attract investors, instead of losing them to neighbouring countries like Ghana.

He said that some small and medium scale entrepreneurs had closed their operations due to the power problem which had forced many companies to run their operations with generators. 

“Small businesses in Nigeria are dying on daily basis under the burden of high overhead cost. If power supply is improved, the increase in electricity tariff may not have much negative effect on our businesses,” he said.

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