May 21, 2024

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Nigeria: Unions protest electricity price hike following removal of subsidies

2 min read

Labor unions in Nigeria staged nationwide protests on Monday over recent increases in electricity prices following the removal of subsidies by the West African nation’s government.

The unions made up of government workers were picketing offices of public electricity utilities in major cities as they asked authorities to counteract price hikes that have worsened the country’s cost of living crisis.

Electricity rates more than doubled for some consumers in April, while the government will save at least $788 million in subsidies this year, authorities have said.

It is the latest measure by President Bola Tinubu’s government to cut costs as Africa’s most populous country struggles with declining revenue due to dwindling investments and chronic oil theft.

Protesting workers said they are frustrated that Nigeria’s chronically erratic power supply has not improved despite the higher prices.

Joe Ajaero, president of the Nigerian Labor Congress, the umbrella body of the unions, told reporters in Abuja, the capital, that the country cannot continue to increase electricity rates and that union members were coming out to underline how Nigerians feel about it.

The protesting workers said they are also frustrated that Nigeria’s electricity supply has not improved even for the consumers who were asked to pay more.

Nigeria suffers from a chronically erratic power supply because of corruption, such that many households and businesses go days without electricity.

Since assuming office last year, President Bola Tinubu has enacted a range of controversial policies including scrapping fuel subsidies and unifying the country’s multiple exchange rate, leading to a devaluation of the naira against the dollar.

Petrol prices have more than doubled and inflation has soared as a result, hitting close to 30% last month, the highest in nearly three decades, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Protests have been ongoing for months with government labour unions over many things and a cost of living crisis, the worst the country has seen in nearly three decades.

Unions say the government has failed to deliver on promises that included a monthly wage increase of approximately $20 for all workers for six months, and payments of approximately $15 for three months to millions of vulnerable households.

By Rédaction Africanews

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