14 April 2016, Lagos — ORGANISED Labour has called on the Federal Government to urgently revive the Iron and Steel sector of the nation’s economy to serve as a catalyst to the country’s quest for industrialisation.
It equally urged the government to withdraw all approved licences issued to those miners who have not mobilised to sites to commence business, lamenting the owners of the licences are undermining the development of the sector.
At its Central Working Committee, CWC, the Joe Ajaero-led faction of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, expressed concern over perceived the huge failure and ineffectiveness of the privatisation policy of the federal government leading to the current crisis in the nation’s power sector.
Privatisation policy Reading the communiqué at the end of the CWC in Lagos, Ajaero said: “The CWC-in-session has observed with great concern the huge failure and ineffectiveness of the privatisation policy of the federal government which, as can be obviously seen, has been grossly responsible for the crisis in the nation’s power sector.
“The unbundling and subsequent sale of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to various private operators about three years ago is the worst mistake any government that is worth its integrity and responsibility can commit. Before our very eyes, we have witnessed unprecedented power failure as a result of the steady drop in power generation.
“Presently, the nation is faced with a sharp drop in power generation to 2,000 megawatts and we are yet to see the end of the abysmal drop.
“Also traceable to the failure of the privatisation policy is the operational docility in the mining sub-sector where licences have been granted to various private miners who, up till date, have not commenced operation at various mining levels as expected.
Therefore, the CWC-in-session, having critically looked at the seemingly irredeemable power situation in the country and the palpable inactivity in the mining sub-sector of the economy, instructively advises the federal government to remind itself of the huge failure of the privatization of the power sector in a wider spectrum and stop any further privatization plan it might have.”
He noted that the CWC-in-session believed that going ahead with privatisation of other national institutions like Nigerian Railway and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which the federal government planned to unbundle would certainly portend greater socio-economic danger for the nation. Ajaero explained that also,
“CWC-in-session suggests that federal government should commence the process of withdrawing all approved licences availed miners who have not mobilised to sites to commence business. In a similar vein, the CWC-in-session considers Iron and Steel sub-sector of the economy to be pivotal to industrialisation. It, therefore, advises the federal government to begin the process of reviving the sub-sector so as to harness its full potentialities that are capable of catalysing industrialisation the nation craves for.
“The CWC-in-session observes the prevalent employment crisis which keeps growing by the day and practically preparing the nation for heightened insecurity and other numerous social vices if unchecked. The CWC-in-session sees as unproductive and impotent all the policies advanced for the stimulation of job creation especially for employable Nigerian youths.
The federal government’s Youths Empowerment Scheme, YES, and hosts of others floated even right from the days of immediate past Administration have not yielded any known, desirable results. The federal government should, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency and call for a summit where ways out of the unemployment crisis could be advanced.”
*Victor Ahiuma-Young – Vanguard