The National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria on Sunday said the Federal Government must ensure steady power supply before increasing electricity tariff.
A statement issued in Kaduna by the Secretary General of the Union, an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu, said the group supports the planned picketing of electricity distribution companies by the organised labour.
The statement said: “We hereby declare our total support for the planned picketing by labour and civil society allies of all offices of the electricity distribution companies (DISCOS) nationwide, including Abuja, on Monday February 8, to protest the unilateral and unlawful hike of electricity tariff.
“We commend NLC leadership for this mass action for improved power supply instead of incessant non-service charges.”
Aremu advised President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently revisit the report of the 2014 National Conference and implement the holistic recommendations for the power sector.
He said the Federal Government should not allow the increase in tariff “by the underperforming generating and distribution companies”.
“The point cannot be overstated; Power/Energy is so strategic to the industrialisation and the wellbeing of the people,” the former Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress said.
He also appealed to the Federal Government to urgently review the privatisation contracts with the GenCos and DisCos/
Aremu said the firms should be given a two-year time-frame “to allow them stabilise and provide efficient power supply to Nigerians before they can contemplate any tariff increase”.
The NUTGTWN General Secretary further said there should be more transparency in all future sale of the nation’s assets.
Aremu said: “We reject the hike in electricity tariff and hereby call on our members across the country and all well meaning Nigerians to come out and join NLC protest to drive home the fact that the unilateral and unlawful hike of electricity tariff is unacceptable.”
Aremu said the textile union instead calls for improvement in power supply.
He said: “The point cannot be overstated. Between 30 per cent and 35 per cent of textile and garment manufacturing costs are energy related expenses.
“Without electrification there can be no industrialisation.
“The promise and expectation that President Buhari will revive textile industry generally is not possible without electricity.”
According to Aremu, it is time for the Buhari administration to critically review the power sector reform with a view of increasing public sector investment.