Organised labour in the nation’s power sector has rejected a recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, that banks should take over the collection of electricity bills from Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos.
The electricity workers threatened to frustrate the implementation of the directive.
Recall that CBN, through a Circular dated August 21, by its Director of Banking Supervision, Mr. Bello Hassan, directed banks to take over electricity bills collection from DisCos.
However, organised labour, through the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, in a statement by its General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, said: “The implementation of this directive at this period is not only ill-timed but counter-productive owing to the operational and overhead hi challenges this portends
CBN is not a regulatory body for the power sector and has very minute knowledge about its operations, and cannot be in a position to issue directives in a sector where it lacks expertise
Since the privatisation of the Nigerian power sector in November 1, 2013, not much has been done towards ensuring that electricity consumers in Nigeria are issued prepaid meters to properly account and justify payments being made for energy consumed, rather than the estimated billing system which has further placed huge financial burden on Nigerians.
“Today, in the face of global economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, CBN’s directive would further increase the unemployment index which the current administration is working assiduously to prone down.
The implementation of this directive will not ensure job security and will, no doubt, throw thousands of electricity workers into the labour market, thus increasing hardship and hunger on family members of those affected.
“The CBN directive is a subtle attempt to take over jobs in the power sector, which will be resisted. You can’t work in the financial sector of the economy and collect your pay from the power sector. Enough of this usurpation.
Rather than increase hunger in the country, we advise that the Federal Government and its organs saddled with the responsibility of policy formulation, concentrate on metering every electricity consumer in the country rather than asking them to keep paying for electricity not consumed.
“Should the CBN proceed with this ill-timed agenda, then it should be ready to not only have its workers work in the financial sector, but also work in the electricity industry.
“They should add engineering and electrical skills to CBN staff and not just revenue collection alone.”