Business Journal


Will Buhari Reverse Power Sector Privatisation?

Labour Supports Reversal, Alleges Irregularities, Fraud, Worsening Power Situation The in-coming administration of President-elect, Mohammadu Buhari is under intense pressure to reverse the privatisation of power assets in the country initiated under the out-going Goodluck Jonathan government. Another initiative is to increase Federal Government equity in the already privatised power assets from 49 to 59 percent in order to have control in the running of such power assets across the country.

The move has already received endorsement from the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) which called for immediate review of the power sector privatisation exercise on the strength of alleged irregularities, fraud and worsening power situation in the country.

The NUEE was responding to a statement by the out-going Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo that the in-coming government should not tamper with privatisation of the power sector. According to NUEE, the privatisation of the sector has made the generation and consumption of power in the country to be ineffective; adding that the payment of over N200 billion to the private sector by the government after the privatisation exercise leaves much to be desired.

Leaders of the union, and General Secretary and factional President of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Joe Ajaero, said there is need for the Buhari presidency to revisit the privatisation because the exercise has not made any positive impact on consumers months after it was done.

“We want to say, as a union that the sham called privatisation should be revisited. If privatisation, as we were told, was to bring us heaven-on-earth Elderado, and it has not done that, why should we insist on it? Of course, our position as NUEE has been NO to privatisation, especially given that we are an under-developed economy. It is the function of the state to provide power.

Even the so-called privatisation, you can see that even this year alone, between January and now, they have even given the so- called private sector over N200 billion. So, why fund them if you say that electricity is in the hands of the private sector?

That brings you to the point of the fraud on who owns them. Why would you sell your house to somebody and you still give him money to maintain it? So, it’s a fraud.” Ajearo had said The push for review by electricity workers is further heightened by the huge cry of electricity consumers nationwide that privatisation of the nation’s power assets seem not to have generated the desired results as the power situation in the country continues to dwindle.

Industry sources said that given the flood of complaints by electricity consumers nationwide over constant power outages and huge estimated billings by the private owners of power assets, the in-coming government may decide to take a second look at the entire power privatisation process.

According to some industry experts, the new owners of the privatised assets are not helping matters as they are more interested in recovering their investment instead of upgrading dilapidated power facilities.

“The new owners are more of financial experts who want to recover their monies so soon” they said. It is expected that if the in-coming government increases its equity share in the power companies, given its set mind to fight corruption, there would be improvement in power supply in the country.

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