By John Adenekan
Amidst the ongoing lockdown of many Nigerian states arising from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has insisted on going ahead with its planned increase in electricity tariff, effective from Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
This development has however been described as “callous and insensitive” by the Chairman of Governors Mandate Network, Earl Osaro Onaiwu.
In a release personally signed by Mr. Onaiwu, he wondered why the government would go ahead with a policy that could compound the woes of an already overstressed populace at a time where many are still battling to come to terms with the economic implications of the coronavirus disease.
The Governor Mandate boss noted that with total and partial lockdowns declared in several states of the federation, with the attendant shutting down of many businesses, Nigerians, many of whom are on subsistent living cannot any additional pressure on the living expenses.
In his words: “This is totally an inauspicious time for the NERC to increase electricity tariff. Governments all over the world are offering stimulus packages to their citizens to help them go through the trauma of the global pandemic easily, our own government must not be seen doing otherwise.
“People need light to stay at home and though power supply has been epileptic as usual, it would be callous and insensitive to now make it unaffordable to the masses.
“I call on the Federal Government to revert to status quo or more preferably, cause the DISCOs to reduce their billing during this period of lockdown.”
In a similar light, the Governors Mandate Chairman has urged the operators of cable TV networks such as GOTV, Startimes and the likes to offer their customers one month free subscription.He said the companies should consider it as their own contributions to the COVID-19 relief fund.
He stated that while many Nigerians are now at home due to the lockdown declared by the government may not have the required funds for subscription, it is evident that many would need to be by their TV as a means of information and entertainment to quell the ravaging fear pervading the world.