A highly placed source in Nigeria’s ministry of power has revealed how the labour unions are frustrating all efforts by the Buhari led federal government to deliver on its promise of improved electricity to Nigerians.
Nigeria’s electricity generation and distribution capacity plunged to an appalling low of 1,580MW this week and millions of households have cursed the ensuing darkness.
Our source in the power ministry says despite his best intentions, power minister Tunde Fashola has been held by the balls by civil servants who are resisting reforms the best they can.
“Unions have taken over and sabotaging efforts in order to protect the laying off of their colleagues found to be incompetent. They are sabotaging power supply through their members who remain in the power value chain. Public complains that service by discos (distribution companies) are not good enough. Discos lay off bad workers, employ new ones. Union insists that unproductive workers must remain and shut down discos and sabotage transmission”, said our source.
The high ranking official further said the unions have shuttered a chunk of Nigeria’s power plants in the process.
“President Muhammadu Buhari approves restructuring of an inefficient NNPC, union shuts down NNPC and gas companies. 13 power plants out of 24 that depend on gas are shut down and we expect power? Is it not the Union of electricity workers who should be producing power or is it the president or the ministers?
“The real question about our under-performing economy is not the Management. It is the productive capacity of our workers. Nigerians must demand more from its workforce, not just its leaders. All the unions agitate about is more minimum wage never about more productivity.
“47,000 Union of electricity employees were paid a total of N350billion after the privatization as severance payment by the last administration before the power investors could take over. This money was paid from the proceeds of sale payment made by the investors.
“This means that each of them averagely got over N7m. Did they protest this to members of the public?”
A call put through to the president of one of the unions in the power sector was neither picked nor returned before this story made it to press.