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Nigeria not ripe for total power privatisation, says electricity workers

Nigeria not ripe for total power privatisation, says electricity workers
September 08
15:27 2022

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has called for a total reversal of the privatisation of Nigeria’s power sector.

Modupeoluwa Akinola, assistant general secretary, NUEE, southwest zone, said this in an interview with NAN on Thursday in Ibadan.

Akinola said the country was not ready for the privatisation of the sector, hence the opposition to the planned privatisation of the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

According to him, the NUEE is demanding full renationalisation of the power sector under the democratic control of a board that includes representatives of workers and consumers.

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“Our opposition to the privatisation policy was informed by our understanding and conviction that privatisation will always seek to protect and defend the profit interest of the business owners against the general interest of the people for affordable and regular electricity,” he said.

“Let’s crosscheck people that bought power Generation Companies (GenCos) and Distribution Companies (DisCos), are they professionals in the power sector and do they have the financial capabilities needed to run the sector effectively?

“Over N2 trillion of bailout funds that the federal government has given to both the DisCos and GenCos on different occasions since the privatisation is not showing, in terms of improvement in electricity supply and better performance.

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“All hopes and expectations that privatisation will add value to the life of the people and bring meaningful impact and improvement to the power sector have been dashed.

“One of the bases of our complaint prior to the eventual privatisation of the power sector in 2013 was that we are not ripe for total power privatisation in Nigeria.”

Akinola, however, said after the reversal of the current privatisation of the GenCos and DisCos, Nigeria could start from partial privatisation whereby private owners would be allowed to share with the government. 

He also urged the federal government to intervene in the issues of electricity workers’ welfare, entitlements of old power holding company of Nigeria (PHCN) staff and condition of service in the power sector. 

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In July, BPE said it was considering a suitable model to unbundle the TCN and not privatise the transmission company.

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