Labour Wants FG To Reappraise PHCN Sale Agreement

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Unimpressed with the performance index of electricity companies in the country, the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Company (SSAEAC) has urged the Federal Government to re-examine the privatization agreement of the nation’s power sector.
The President of the association, Mr Chris Okonkwo, who made the call at an interactive session recently in Lagos, decried what he called the dwindling fortunes of the sector after the private sector took over on Nov. 1, 2013.
The Tide reports that the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,had on Jan. 9 told electricity distribution companies in the country to either improve their service delivery or quit business.
“We are working as hard as we can to make the environment more responsive to you and as I have said and will repeat that as pioneers, you will carry some burdens.
“You either improve your services or quit,” Fashola told the companies at the opening of the 11th Monthly Stakeholders meeting in Lagos.
According to Okonkwo, three years after the distribution and generation companies took over the electricity sector, they have yet to meet the expectations of the people.
“We think it is time to reappraise the content of the agreement that handed over the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to the private sector and its implementation.
“It is time to hold those who bought the power sector down for what they had signed that they will do. We want to know if they are doing well or not,” the electricity workers’ president said.
Apparently referring to Fashola’s warning, he said the government should not ask electricity investors to shape up, but to ensure that they implemented what was stipulated in the contract for the sale of the power sector.
Okonkwo criticised government’s plans to get N309 billion fund from the bond market to “finance shortfall” in the electricity market since it had already sold it to private investors.
He said:”Issuance of bond will amount to spoon-feeding the operators for their inefficiency.
“The bond will be at a cost to Nigerians as the risk of default will affect the Government Sovereign Guarantee and lead to energy crisis in future.”
The union leader said that among the challenges that have affected the growth of power supply was DISCOs’ inability to collect revenue for the energy generated and transmitted by the generation companies.
“Critical to the survival of this sector is revenue collection. There is deficiency in revenue collection.
“These companies collect revenue of 30 per cent as against 60 to 70 per cent before privatization and this is the money the sector needs to operate with.