President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration should review the privatisation of the power sector to prevent the collapse of the economy, the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) has said.
The workers spoke at their fourth triennial delegates’conference in Enugu. It had as theme “Privatisation and unionism: Nigeria’s power sector experience.”
SSAEAC President Comrade Chris Okonkwo, who was re-elected for another three years, wondered why the government has remained indifferent to the issue, despite that privatisation is in its sixth year.
“Everyone has seen that the privatisation of the sector was an error and there is a clause that allows a review after five years. Since last year, we have been charging the government to use the clause and correct the anomaly in the process, but nothing is being done,” he said.
He noted that incompetence of the distribution companies had been the bane of the process, adding that an overhaul of the sector was the only solution.
The SSAEAC chief lamented the experience of workers and the unions with their employers, despite the union’s intervention.
“This challenge informed our choice of the theme to dissect the concerns and factors still impacting negatively on the power sector and the goal of government to make the power problems a thing of the past,” he said.
Commending employers, such as Abuja, Ibadan, Eko, Jos and Kaduna distribution firms, and the TCN, who have signed agreements with the union, he warned others like Ikeja, Benin, Kano, Yola, Enugu and Mainstream Energy that they might soon be picketed by the union if they fail to work with the union.
“It is important to note that it is in the interest of the companies and staff, through the unions, to have this contract documents because it offers protection to both sides,” he said.
Also, the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) General Secretary, Comrade Joe Ajaero, criticised privatisation, noting that it has made it difficult for unions to discharge their core responsibilities.
He accused employers of maltreating workers and not following due process and labour laws, warning that such employers would be dealt with.
Ajaero said: “Privatisation is taking what belongs to everybody and giving it to an individual, or their own people. That is my definition of privatisation. They say it will bring foreign investments, none has come.
“There’s urgent need for us to look at it critically. PDP wants privatisation, APC says it does not have it as agenda. Why can’t they review it, if there is no collaboration between them?”
Similarly, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, criticised our privatisation model, adding that it has done more harm than good.
He called on the government to review the privatisation model, advising that it must be discarded in order to achieve efficiency.
Kaigama said: “There is a dire need to revisit or reverse privatisation in the sectors that it has failed. The processes were wrong. The intention may be right, but wrongly executed probably by vested interests.”
The guest speaker, Dr. Godknows Igali, however, tasked the workers on playing an active role in restoring the sector, which he said, is the driver of the economy.
Source: The Nation