By Bimbola Oyesola
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has reiterated its call for the review of the power sector against the backdrop of the continuous decline of the electricity supply to Nigerians.
The NLC, in a communique issued at its recent virtual National Executive Meeting on Friday in Abuja, signed by the president, Ayuba Wabba, expressed its resolve to demand that government, in line with the agreement signed with organised labour on September 28, 2020, invokes the clause in the power sector privatisation that provides for a five-year review of the privatisation programme to reverse privatisation and return the assets to the Nigerian people.
Wabba said the demand was consequent on the incontrovertible evidence that the power sector privatisation has failed to achieve any of its objectives, which include improving the quality and quantity of electricity supply to Nigerians, shedding of power sector funding from the government and increasing revenue from power sector investment to the coffers of government.
“The NEC also called on government to be clear and straight on its engagement with organised labour on the management of electricity tariff,” he said.
According to Wabba, “The NEC said that it would not allow government to hide under the guise of ‘sine die’ engagement with labour to afflict Nigerians with further increases in electricity tariff.”
He also noted the objection of the congress leadership to the World Bank’s claim that energy tariffs are subsidized by about 70 per cent.
He said the NEC recalled that the privatisation programme for Nigeria’s power sector was at the bidding of the World Bank and other Bretton Woods institutions.
Therefore, the NLC charged the World Bank to be courageous enough to admit that its “one size fits all” prescriptions have failed again.
In the same vein, the NLC NEC observed that the sum budgeted for the revamping of the Port Harcourt refineries appears to be on the high side considering earlier proposals for an overhaul of Nigeria’s refineries estimated at about $450 million.
It reasoned that what was paramount to Nigerians was that the refineries should brought back to life in a manner that must demonstrate value for money.
On the moves to scrap the local government system, the NLC warned that it would oppose any reform that seeks to take the local government system from the Nigerian Constitution.
“The NEC rather urged Nigeria’s political leaders to adopt new measures to strengthen the structures and operations of local governments in Nigeria and guarantee their full autonomy,” the NLC president said.