In West Africa, the union for electricity workers has tasked the newly elected Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari to conduct a thorough review of the privatisation of state-owned Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), claiming that the unbundling process was not transparent.
The demand comes in response to a statement made by the Minister of Power Chinedu Nebo, who asked the incoming administration “not to tamper with the privatisation of the power sector”, online news platform Information Nigeria reported.
Joe Ajaero, general secretary and president of the political party Nigerian Labour Congress, who led the executive members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), called for an enquiry in Abuja last week.
The NUEE claims that since the government invested $1 billion into the privatisation of the PHCN, the electricity sector has regressed and supply is unreliable and insufficient.
Ajaero said: “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 El Dorado, 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 underdeveloped economy. It is the function of the state to provide power.”
He added: “Even with so-called privatisation, you can see that even this year alone, between January and now, [the government] has even given the so-called private sector over N200 billion [$1 billion]. So, why fund them if you say the electricity is in the hands of the private sector? That brings you to the point of the fraud on who owns them.”
Abandoned power transformers
Ajaero gathered journalists to a site housing 60 abandoned containers of 52KVA electricity transformers, at Kubwa, in Abuja.
Ajaero stressed: “With these transformers hidden here, you can now understand that while they [PHCN] were privatising, certain properties were being hidden,” according to the local media report.