Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Kano iron rod company relocates to Lagos, sacks 250 workers over high electricity tariff in North

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The Nigerian Spanish Engineering Limited has relocated to Lagos after sacking 250 workers as a result of high electricity tariff in Kano.

A staff of the company, Ashafa Suleiman, an engineer, revealed this in an interview with journalists at a townhall meeting organized by National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in Kano, on Thursday.

According to Mr Suleiman, the company was paying N60 million electricity bill monthly before, but the amount skyrocketed to N90 million per month, at the rate of N46.9 per unit.

He added that the situation prompted the firm, which produces iron rod, to shut the production unit indefinitely and lay off the 250 staff working there in order to reduce costs, especially as it was facing poor market in Kano.

He further disclosed that the company opted to continue the production at its branch in Lagos State where it pays N33.3 per unit tariff.

Mr Suleiman wondered why Kano, which was the commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria, would be paying much higher tariff than Lagos, alleging that the situation had a political undertone.

“Imagine, as commercial state as Kano, but we are paying N46.9 tariff per unit, while Lagos pays N33.3. this situation seems to be politically motivated. This necessitated our company to shut down the production unit and sack 250 workers due to high electricity bill.

“We were paying N60 million monthly before, but the amount increased to N90 million per month. We are now using our Lagos branch for the production. The Kano branch is not producing now. It is only the administrative department and some engineering works that is taking place in the Kano branch. But Kano branch is shut down since there is no production.

“This is a snag to the economic development of Kano and by extension, the northern region. Our leaders need to rise up to stop this trend,” he said

He lamented that sacking the staff would have adverse effect on the society, calling on authorities to act against the situation.

Commenting on the matter, the Commissioner Consumer Affairs, NERC, Moses Arigu said the reason for disparity in the electricity tariff was as a result of proximity of Lagos State to the generation area.

According to him, most of the electricity generation plants were located in Lagos and southern part of the country, adding that the cost of distribution to the northern region was something to consider.

“People have to bear with us in terms of disparity in tariff between north and south, especially Lagos.

“Most of these generating plants are in Lagos and other parts of the south, as such the transmission costs are less than that of the north due to distance,” he added.

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