By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN—FORMER Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Rowland Owie, yesterday, urged President Goodluck Jonathan not to sell off the 11 distribution centres of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to avoid throwing more Nigerians into the labour market.
He noted that with the recent increase in tariff, rather than sell off the distribution centres as being agitated by some persons, the President should set a target for the distribution zones as regards returns on government investments.
He said: “I wish to advise our President to be very careful with those around him, who are urging him to sell off all PHCN distribution companies. Instead, the 11 distribution zones of PHCN should be fully commercialised and subvention from the government stopped. With the increase in tariff now, government should set targets for the distribution zones as regards returns on government investment, revenue and also reduce unemployment.
“The 11 distribution zones can create direct employment for no fewer than than 31,000 Nigerians annually and over 16,000 job opportunities in addition to contributing to the Federation Account substantially. However, if these distribution zones are sold now, the new buyers will enjoy the new improved tariffs and will reduce the Nigerian staff and bring their own nationals, who are not qualified, as Nigerians.
“More qualified Nigerians will be thrown into the unemployment market to add to the problem of this administration.”