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Friday, 16 November 2012 00:00
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NASME to dialogue with NERC over electricity tariff

The National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) is proposing a consultation with the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) over the proposed multi-year tariff order (MYTO).

According to a statement from NASME, the new tariff would have adverse effect on the operations of small businesses in the country.

President of NASME, Alhaji Garba Ibrahim Gusau, said that NASME would want reclassification of MSMEs in the tariff regime and a reduced fixed charge based on a new classification.

He disclosed that preliminary survey conducted by NASME after four months of running business under the new tariff, revealed that an average small or medium scale business owner was forced to deploy scarce business investment revenues to pay huge electricity bills to ensure continuity of businesses.

He noted that the survey also observed that an average SMEs was classified in the same rate category as the large corporations stressing that the increase in monthly fixed tariff has not translated to an improvement in electricity services in the first four months of the tariff regime.

Gusau said: “The implication of the findings of our survey is enormous and it is critical to the economy of the country. It signifies the weakening of the MSME sector, which is already resulting in reduced productivity and growing unemployment.

“We believe that at a time when the government is seeking to grow the private sector, stimulate investment and increase employment, particularly of the burgeoning youth sector, further burden of huge operational cost is not in the interest of anybody.

“This is critical because there are well-documented evidences that shows the MSMEs generate the most employment in the country rather than the large corporations. The proposed dialogue is therefore designed to create a platform for exchange of information on the new order as well as help NERC to get feedback from the MSME sector on the implementation of the new electricity order so far.

“NASME has therefore prepared a detailed proposal on a more desirable tariff structure to be discussed at the event, which is billed to hold on November 26, 2012,” he stressed.

While expressing confidence that the forum would help both parties address all alleged grievances and set the stage for mutual understanding of all outstanding issues on the new electricity order, the NASME leader said the group intended to reach a mutual agreement with NERC at this dialogue.

He noted that the proposed dialogue is timely since “the commission is set to release a new framework for estimated billing as a deliberate effort to eliminate all forms of overbilling which will ensure a holistic review and amendment of operational market rules, guidelines and regulations in the Nigerian electricity industry.”

The proposed meeting with NERC, Gusau said, would further strengthen relationship between the private sector and government as well as grow the nation’s economy in the creation of more employment and the provision of goods and services very essential to the lives and livelihood of Nigerians in general.

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