The United Labour Congress (ULC), yesterday said the power sector has become an embarrassment to Nigerians four years after delivering interrupted electricity supply to the nation upon the transfer of the successor companies of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to private sector.
President of the union, Comrade Joe Ajearo, who disclosed this in his May Day speech in Lagos, also wondered why Nigerians were still celebrating 4,000MW and forced to pay estimated electricity bills against the promise of the new owners of the companies.
He reiterated the need for the Federal Government to revisit the privatization of the power sector with a view to ensuring that it added value to the lives of Nigerians.
He said, “We suggest that the government invokes the necessary clause in the Privatisation Act that allows it to reacquire the companies in order to reverse the negative trend in the sector. Without a viable power sector, all the talk about diversification will remain a mirage; without electricity, SMEs are doomed and will not take off and without adequate power, we cannot hope to run a modern economy. It is time for the government to live up to their promise on assumption of office to revisit the privatisation of the electricity companies.”
Commending the Federal Government for working to defend the Naira in the foreign exchange market, Ajearo said a lot still needed to be done to get it exchanging at a more appropriate rate that would help reduce inflation and stabilised the other national aggregates.
He explained that it was impossible to defend the Naira without addressing the major areas that created negative pressures against it such as the continuous importation of refined petroleum products.
According to him, the singular factor could remove the pressure on the domestic currency by 50%, adding that government should continue the objective of returning the local refineries to full capacity and invest in new refineries
He urged the federal government to set out on a deliberate effort to build domestic industrial capacity not just by stimulating private sector investments but by also investing in establishing medium and large scale industries in critical sectors of the economy.
He added, “We cannot be the voice of neoliberalism trumpeting the mantra that government is not good for business. Many strong nations have grown their domestic industrial base on this model.”