Nigerian Businessman Decries ₦1.1M Electricity Bill Amid 300% Tariff Hike

Nigerian businessman Dr. Joseph Onuorah receives ₦1.1 million electricity bill for April 2024, a 300% increase from previous rates. The hike, affecting 1.9 million consumers, has sparked widespread criticism and calls for reversal from labour unions and the House of Representatives.

Trim Correspondents
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Nigerian Businessman Decries ₦1.1M Electricity Bill Amid 300% Tariff Hike

Nigerian Businessman Decries ₦1.1M Electricity Bill Amid 300% Tariff Hike

Dr. Joseph Onuorah, a Nigerian businessman, has expressed outrage over his electricity bill of ₦1.1 million (GH₵ 10.8K) for April 2024, following a staggering 300% increment in electricity tariff by the federal government. The exorbitant bill for his small business comes after the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) announced the tariff hike on April 3, 2024, escalating costs for Band A customers to ₦225 per kilowatt-hour, a 240% increase from the former rate of ₦68/kWh.

Why this matters: The drastic tariff hike has significant implications for the Nigerian economy, as it may lead to increased costs of production and potentially stifle economic growth. Furthermore, the hike may exacerbate the already high cost of living in Nigeria, disproportionately affecting low-income households and small businesses.

Dr. Onuorah took to social media to lament the high cost, stating that his business' diesel cost for the same period was ₦1.5 million (GH₵14.7K). He questioned how businesses were expected to thrive under such conditions. The businessman revealed that he had previously been charged ₦400k to ₦450k, which he still found to be on the high side. He shared a photo of his electricity bill to support his claim.

The tariff hike affects about 1.9 million consumers, who will now pay ₦225/kWh, with a promise of up to 20 hours of power supply daily. However, the increase has been met with widespread criticism from various quarters. The House of Representatives has called for an immediate suspension of the new tariff implementation nationwide. Organised labour, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), has threatened to picket NERC offices if the hike is not reversed within a week.

The NLC and TUC leaders, Ajaero and Festus Osifo, respectively, described the billing as"an extortion and daylight robbery against Nigerians. "Tommy Etim, National Deputy President of the TUC, stated,"The truth is that due process was not followed in the tariff hike. You cannot just announce a hike like that. It is not done anywhere. They should reverse the hike and call for stakeholders' engagement."

The Power Minister has justified the increase, stating that a nationwide blackout would occur in three months if the tariff hike is not implemented. However, the labour unions have expressed dissatisfaction with the epileptic power situation in the country, saying it affects economic growth. They have given an ultimatum to NERC to reverse the hike by May 12, 2024, failing which they will convene a National Executive Council meeting to decide on the next line of action.

Dr. Onuorah's tweet sparked a conversation, with many users expressing sympathy and outrage over the high cost of living in Nigeria. This incident highlights the challenges faced by small businesses in the wake of the recent electricity tariff hike. The federal government claims the 300% adjustment will save ₦1.5 trillion, but critics argue it places an undue burden on consumers and businesses already struggling with Nigeria's economic realities.