NERC Urged to Setup Standard Emoluments

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Ugo Aliogo

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has been urged to consider setting standard emoluments for sector workers to elicit higher productivity in the sector.

The advise which was given by the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) in a letter signed by its Deputy General Secretary, Comr. Nnamdi Ajibo and made available to THISDAY, said ancillary service providers such as NERC and NBET earn more than the first-line workers/operators/risk-takers in GenCos, TCN and DisCos.

The union in the letter urged NERC to verify sector workers’ salaries with a view to guarantee timely and full payment by first-line charge principle.

The union further stated that NERC should consider adjusting the minimum remittance percentages to accommodate the need for timely and full payment of salaries.

“As a union of senior staff of the sector nationwide, we have first-hand information on goings-on in all parts of the sector. From equipment gap to metering gap; investment gap to understaffing; poor cash-flow to irregular and incomplete salary payments for services rendered; and collection and remittance gap. NERC the Regulator has been docile in facing its responsibilities, but rose to the occasion by issuing Orders on minimum remittances by all DisCos,” the letter said.

The union lauded NERC for updating all parameters such as tariff values, inflation rates, exchange rates, ATCC losses and others, while applying same to arrive at fair financial positions of each of the DisCos, “we note that the DisCos may have complaints even with this effort and encourage more dialogue and studies towards a better regulation of the sector.”

According to the letter, “The recent minimum remittance orders issued to Discos which required Discos to pay 100% of MO Invoice and minimum percentage of NBET bill, without taking salary of staff that collect the revenue into consideration, is a major oversight that can trigger a domino effect capable of pulling down the sector‘s market.

The reason is that most DisCos are not paying the paltry staff salaries as and when due or the full amounts. The potential negative impact of this situation is better imagined because a hungry worker will not collect money and return it or be healthy in mind to do his best. As a historical insight, salaries and minimum operational costs were treated as first-line charges in the pre-privatization time hence the relative higher collection efficiencies of the time.”