Organized labour under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have accused the private investors in the power sector of badly scamming Nigeria with the privatization programme as the challenges of the sector persists.
The Labour union said that despite the huge bailout funds provided by the Federal Government to these investors who bought these electricity assets at cheap prices, power generation and distribution problems are getting worse.
The call was made by the President of NLC, Mr Ayuba Wabba, during the 2022 International Workers’ Day celebration on Sunday in Abuja, in an event that was jointly organised by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
What the NLC President is saying
Wabba had asked the Federal Government to scrap and reverse the electricity privatisation exercise in the country.
He urged the federal government to take advantage of the 5-year review window provided in the Electricity Sector Privatization Reform Act, already overdue.
The NLC boss in his statement said, “The challenges in our electricity sub-sector persist despite the acclaimed goodness that the power sector privatisation programme promised.
“In spite of humungous bailout support funds fleeced from public coffers to the so-called private investors who bought our electricity assets dirt cheap, our power generation and distribution blues keep getting worse.
“The truth is: we have been badly scammed.’’
The NLC president, therefore, demanded for a transparent investigation into the power sector privatisation programme.
He said, “We believe this was hijacked by a few entitled Nigerians to corner the commonwealth without thought for value addition.’’
NLC rejects concession of airports
Wabba was also critical of the continuous move by some people in the corridors of power to concession the airports.
- He noted that from the Transaction Adviser’s report, there is clearly no justifiable reason for government to hand over airports built with public funds to private investors whose sole objective is profit maximisation at public pain.
- He said, “Our experience with such moves is that the first thing the concessionaires do is to casualise labour and perpetrate all manner of decent work deficits.
- “Private investors who believe that there is gold mine in running airports should build their own airports and recoup their investments afterwards.
- “They should stay off profitable airports built at public expense.’’
What you should know
- Recall that the power sector was privatized in November 2013 under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan with 6 power generation plants and eleven electricity distribution companies handed over to the private sector. The Federal Government still retained control of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).12 Jan 2021
- The privatization was expected to help create an efficiently and effectively run sector, attract more private sector participation and investment in the sector among others.
- However, this initiative by the government has left a host of post-privatisation challenges as the power problems have persisted with Nigeria barely generating around 4,000MW of electricity despite an installed capacity of over 12,500MW.
- This is not the first time that calls have been made for the government to review the power sector privatization and take back these power assets.
- Recall that sometime ago, the leadership of the National Assembly had urged the federal government to take back the power firms and manage them or re-privatise them.