08 April 2016, Abuja — The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has said about N7.734billion was lost to labour crises in two years.
Fashola, who spoke at the third triennial delegates conference of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity, and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) in Abuja yesterday said the sum was lost in labour crises within the electricity market between April 2014 and March 2016.
Decrying such huge losses, Fashola asked,”Can an employee who caused the employer such financial losses in all good conscience expect improved welfare packages or industrial peace?”
Fashola said the heaviest losses due to the labour actions were recorded in the gas-to-power. He recalled the occurrence on March 8 and 9, 2016 by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) that caused an estimated loss of N3.2billion.
There was a shutdown of the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) pipelines affecting 11 gas-fired power plants. He said the estimated gas unsold or lost was about 304mmsfcd which could have generated over 3,300megawatts (MW).
Another huge loss Fashola said occurred on May 22, 2015, when the NNPC strike affected all NNPC/ NGC pipelines and shutting down 10 plants. He noted that N2billion and over 3,000mw was lost to that PENGASSAN strike.
The case of the February 8 and 9, 2016 nationwide tariff hike protest was fresh in the Minister’s mind as he said the action by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) resulted in the loss of N800million in the electricity market.
Urging Labour to take a cue from the developed world and focus on their job roles, Fashola said, “Let me also ask all of you to remember that the only reason you and I are employed in the public sector is to provide power for everybody, not to disrupt power supply.”
Equally, the Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to continue with the ongoing negotiations and shelve their planned nationwide strike over the recent electricity tariff hike.
The NLC last Wednesday threatened to declare a one-day nationwide strike against the government to protest the electricity tariff hike and the prevailing fuel scarcity.
*Simon Echewofun Sunday – Daily Trust