23 October 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – FOLLOWING the rejection of the commercial bid results announced by the Bureau of Public Entreprises, BPE, for the Benin Electricity Distribution Company by four state governors, industry workers have described the sale of PHCN assets for about N200 billion as the greatest disservice to Nigeria. They maintained that the assets are worth over N3 trillion.
The National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, at a press briefing in Lagos, said before the increase in tariff, PHCN was generating over N20 billion monthly and with the increase, the revenue profile had gone up to N300 billion annually.
President and General Secretary of NUEE, Comrades Mansur Musa and Joe Ajaero, argued that the PHCN assets were never valued before the privatisation process. They declared that the outcries by some Nigerians especially the state governors have vindicated labour’s long held position that the whole process was to hand PHCN over to some privileged few in government and their fronts.
The union, however, faulted the governors position that they were excluded, wondering why it would be expedient for state governors to run power stations, but not the Federal Government, after they all argued that government had no business being in business.
They noted that Manotoba that was given the nation’s transmissions company to run is owned by a municipal government in Canada, and therefore, the sale as not only a rape on Nigeria, but a bastard economy.
According to Ajaero, as the process unfolds, Nigerians who had castigated the union’s position would see the deceit and fraud in the whole exercise, while insisting that whether government gave away PHCN at ridiculous prices or not, the union would not compromise the entitlements of workers put at N500billion.
He argued that no amount of military force including the stationing of armed officers, can intimidate the union and the workers to abandon their legitimate rights. He also warned that no successful bidder would take over any PHCN asset without the settlement of workers benefits.
Discrediting the sale, the NUEE scribe noted that the PHCN car park in Marina alone under the Eko Electricity Distribution Company, and the offices in Marina, Lagos, were enough to generate the N200 billion. He said, “We have over 20 offices, over 1,000 transformers, we are not talking about the building and the land.
“This is daylight fraud. The issue is that there was no valuation of the PHCN assets before this fraud. There was an agreement that when they are going to do valuation, we will also bring our independent values to work alongside government’s. But this was never done. Nigerians should ask who did the valuation and when? Only a prodigal child will sell his father’s house where he has been collecting N300 billion annually for N200 billion.
“We all know the worth of PHCN. If PHCN was making over N25billion monthly, how come they want to sell it off as scrap? There is no doubt this sale is bound to fail.”