Business is booming.

Hotels, companies may shut down over electricity tariff hike

•Consumers reject increase in tariff as job losses loom

Some civil society groups, hotel and tourism companies, yesterday, in Abuja, rejected the recent increase in electricity, saying there was no justification for the increase.

They raised concerns over the implications of the actions as hoteliers and tourist companies feared closure of many hotels and businesses.The stakeholders stated this at a joint press conference by Network of Electricity Consumers Advocacy of Nigeria (NECAN), Nigerian Hotels Association (NHA), Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Hotels Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA).

In the face of dwindling revenue, the Federal Government had backed out of subsidising consumption of electricity, therefore, making the cost to go up by over 100 per cent.

Stating that they were being billed even when business operations were halted due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the operators said they were unable to cope with the new tariff in the face of the prevailing situation.

Speaking at the conference, Presidents of FTAN, Rabo Salem; NHA, Eze Anyanwu; HOFA, Dr. Ezeudeh; Ekete Obanga, and Power Up’s Adetoya Agbemle, accused the Federal Government of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians.

The group asked government to reverse the tariff hike in the face of the COVID-19 challenges, noting that the increases won’t solve the problem in the sector, as reducing losses being experienced by distribution companies would have increased revenue.

With over 65 per cent in Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses, the stakeholders said a 50 per cent reduction in the losses would have increased liquidity in the power sector.

They also lambasted the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), for going ahead with the increase despite weak metering policy, noting that the current tariff structure automatically discriminates against the poor, insisting that the development would lead to rural-urban migration.

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