12 May 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, and the United Labour Congress of Nigeria have called on the Federal Government to review the power sector privatisation under which the assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, was handed over to the private sectoR.
Labour said the move is necessary in the face of continued inadequate power supply confronting the nation despite the sale of the PHCN assets to power sector players over threes ago.
“We use this opportunity to insist that the federal Government should revisit the Privatisation of the Power sector and should not allow all the noise from within its ranks to distract it unless it is not prepared to rescue the sector and the embarrassment it has become to Nigerians under its watch. That Nigerians are forced to pay for darkness in the guise of estimated bills should worry this Government; that we are still celebrating 3,000 to 4,000 MW after the promise of Privatisation of electricity is a tragedy.
“We suggest that the Government invokes the necessary clause in the Privatisation act that allows it to reacquire the Companies in order to reverse the negative trend in the sector. Without a viable power sector, all the talk about diversification will remain a mirage; without electricity, SMEs are doomed and will not take-off and without adequate Power, we cannot hope to run a modern economy. It is time for the Government to live up to their promise on assumption of office to revisit the Privatisation of the Electricity companies,” President of ULC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, ULC said.
On his part, President of said: “The poor performance of the power sector is evidence of ineffectiveness of governments and the new owners. We kicked against privatisation but government told us it was the way to go.
“After the takeover, not much has been achieved, even with continued government subsidies. Since the return to civilian rule in 1999, governments have spent on average about US$2bn annually on electricity provision, but with little service improvements to show for it. The highest we have got in terms of generation is 5,075 Megawatt.
“Severally the organized labour and anti-poverty groups have condemned and protested against the rises in monthly bills. It was uncalled for and unjustifiable because there has been no significant improvement in services delivery to warrant such increment.
“We applaud the Senate for supporting us on this very one. “There is need for the new owners to make strategic investment in facilities to ensure constant supplies of Gas to these Plants.
“While the Congress commends workers in the sector represented by Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, and the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, for their patience, we must also warn that the authority should not take that virtue for granted.
Most importantly, enforcement of terms of sale rather than pampering of the buyers is sine-qua-non to success of power sector reforms and Government must activate its 40% shareholdings in discos to checkmate their excesses.”