ActionAid Faults 100% Increase in Electricity Tariff, Petrol Price Amidst Covid-19

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· Says FG has injected N1.5tn over what it sold
· Warns FG, states against looming food crisis

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
ActionAid Nigeria, a global movement of people against poverty, yesterday faulted the federal government for increasing electricity tariffs and pump price of premium motor spirit by almost 100% amid COVID-19.

The movement, also, lamented that the privatisation of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line had not yielded the anticipated positive results, saying the power sector was sold at about N400 billion.

In a statement by its Board of Trustees yesterday, ActionAid lamented that within the last four years, the federal government injected N1.5 trillion above the amount that accrued from this important asset.
Yet, according to it, Nigerians are still being made to pay more.
It said: “The hike in electricity tariffs by almost 100% as well as the fuel price increase coming amid the COVID-19, is not only ill-timed, but it is also counterproductive.”

It said the privatisation of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line “has not yielded the anticipated positive results. The increase in electricity tariff and hike in fuel price have eroded the purchasing power of Nigerians.
“We recommend the reversal of the fuel price and electricity tariff, and request that meters be provided for all electricity consumers. The gains made on poverty eradication by the President and other stakeholders like ActionAid Nigeria are being eroded drastically because of monumental inflation.”

ActionAid said while the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had made some strides in terms of combating the dreaded coronavirus, the country’s limited testing capacity and inconsistent contact tracing remains a major concern.
The movement lamented that since the COVID-19 lockdown, rape and other forms of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) have increased.
It stressed that since the commencement of lockdowns, reported cases of gender-based violence have substantially risen with a monthly increase of 149% in 23 out of the 36 states in Nigeria where they could obtain data on SGBV.

Despite this, till date, ActionAid said only 17 out of 36 states and the FCT have passed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act in Nigeria.
The organisation said regardless of claims of increased security measures by federal authorities, an atmosphere of insecurity persists across Nigeria

It stated: “Increasing attacks are being reported in the northeast including reports of fresh attacks in Chibok, home of the Chibok girls who are yet to fully return home 6 years after their abduction, with 112 girls still missing.”
It, therefore, urged the federal government to continue to engage with key international actors including the United Nations, United States and the United Kingdom in providing support for the Nigerian forces and Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) in countering and ending insurgency in the Northeast.

ActionAid said Nigeria should also consider looking inwards for its own solution to end the growing insecurity in the country.
It noted that the attempts by the federal government to encourage local farmers and food producers over imports is commendable, but however added that Nigeria is currently dealing with the twin crises of flooding and food shortages, adding that this was threatening to push Nigeria into a devastating food crisis.
According to ActionAid, to avert the looming food crisis, financial inclusiveness should be encouraged through increased access to low interest credit by the small-scale farmers, especially smallholder women farmers who produce over 70% of food consumed in the country.