Nigerians will pay more for electricity in their homes and offices as well as fuel in their vehicles as higher prices approved by President Muhammadu Buhari came into effect from September 2.
While electricity tariff rates were increased by 50 percent, the price of a liter of petrol went up 5 percent to 151.6 naira. This represents another challenge for Nigerians in the management of their personal finance as disposable income for savings and investment are further crimped by these additional costs, in a year the coronavirus devastated the earnings of most citizens.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has been under pressure from power companies to jack up tariffs on the grounds that existing rates didn’t guarantee the recovery of their costs. The government also said it had used the opportunity presented by low crude oil prices due to Covid-19 to end subsidies that ensured uniform and relatively low fuel prices.
The authorities say some categories of consumers are exempt from the increased energy tariffs. These include those who use receive power less than 12 hours in a day or 50 kilowatts of power in a month.
Labour unions and civic groups have condemned the increases while demanding their immediate reversal by the government. Ayuba Wabba, president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, the umbrella coalition of Nigeria’s biggest trade unions, said said the leadership will consult for a response.
“The increase in the price of petroleum has happened now more than three times in three months, and only yesterday they hiked the tariff of electricity,” Wabba told reporters. “And to compound it they also reduced the interest rate of savings which affects mostly the poor and the vulnerable. Certainly we cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony”