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Labour demands review of Power Sector privatization process

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

FOUR years after privatization of the Power sector, every passing day, Nigeria seems farther away from the promise of privatization, as not only has private monopoly replaced public monopoly of power general and distribution, it is arguable if power supply during pre-privatisation era was not better than post-privatisation.

This has prompted several groups and concerned to either call for total reversal of the privatization process, or its review.

L-R: Didi Adodo, General Secretary United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, Martins Uzoegwu, President National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE and Joe Ajaero, General Secretary, NUEE, at the Union's NEC meeting in Lagos.
L-R: Didi Adodo, General Secretary United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, Martins Uzoegwu, President National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE and Joe Ajaero, General Secretary, NUEE, at the Union’s NEC meeting in Lagos.

Organised Labour in the Power sector which before the privatization, warned Nigerians against the consequences, has demanded for the review of the entire Power Sector privatization process done by the immediate past leaders of this country.

On the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, Labour, at its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Lagos, insisted that such X-ray would reveal the various hidden clauses directly responsible for the abysmal failure of the reform and the poor working conditions, poor electricity supply and the terrible welfare packages for workers in the Sector.

A communiqué issued at the end of the NEC meeting said among others, that  NEC-in-Session decries the continuous and unexplainable involvement of Government in the financing/funding of projects and the day-to-day running of DISCOS, GENCOS while the welfare of the various staff has never been given any attention.  The NEC-in-session condemns and resolves that such should be discouraged in its the entirety. The NEC-in-Session frowns seriously at the recent pronouncement by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on the proposed tariff increase in electricity in the face of poor service delivery by most DISCOS.

Particularly, the NEC-in-Session opines that a highly placed and duly elected government official like Vice President Osinbajo should not be the mouth-piece of DISCOS, especially as the entire power sector privatization is nothing but a scam and a sham because of its apparent failure.

“The obvious lack of monitoring of DISCOS and GENCOS activities and operations since 2013 was totally condemned by the NEC-in-Session.  This, the NEC-in-Session opines is responsible for the high handedness of the management(s) of some of the DISCOS/GENCOS particularly their refusal to allow Union activities and the  promotion of other anti-labour tendencies by the companies.

The NEC-in-Session vows to strive to ensure harmonious working environment for improved productivity and other better welfare packages for her members in particular and workers in general. The NEC-in-Session calls on the Federal Government to carry out the review of the entire Power Sector privatization process that was concocted by the immediate past leaders of this country.  The NEC-in-Session resolves that such an X-ray will reveal the various hidden clauses that are directly responsible for the abysmal failure of the reform and the poor working conditions, poor electricity supply and the terrible welfare packages for workers in the sector.”

According to communiqué, the NEC-in-Session called on the Federal Government to play its role towards releasing the 10% Equity Share Holding for workers in the Electricity Sector, saying the NEC-in-Session calls on the Federal Government to release the Consumer Assistance Fund created in the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, EPSR, 2005 to assist the poor masses pay the massive electricity bills before contemplating any further increase in tariff.

The NEC-in-Session frowns at the continuous funding of Private Companies in the Power Sector in form of grants, gas, loans etc by the Federal Government which contradicts its earlier stand that the private Sector has the financial capacity to manage the privatized entities.

 

 


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