‘Why States, Workers are Yet to Get 10% Equity in DisCos’

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The Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh, has offered reason for the inability of the Federal Government to allot the 10 per cent equity shareholding in the privatised power distribution companies to the workers.

According to him, some state governments are yet to furnish the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) with details of their investment portfolios in the utility firms prior to their privatisation.

The information, Okoh clarified, would enable the commission evaluate the state governments’ commitment in the distribution network within their domains.A statement yesterday by BPE spokesman, Chukwuma Nwoko, quoted his boss as making the clarification at the weekend when officials of two industry unions, led by the General Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Comrade Joe Ajaero, visited him in Abuja.

According to the release, “Okoh pointed out that it is only when NERC finishes the assignment that the BPE can allot to workers as well as state governments and whatever is left would now be reserved for Initial Public Offering (IPO) when the companies become profitable.

“We are working with NERC to conclude this assignment. The commission has assured that by the end of June 2017, it would take a final decision on the matter.”He assured the unionists that labour issues arising from the exercise would be addressed.Ajaero had pledged to work with the bureau in resolving all differences.

Meanwhile, ActionAid Nigeria has called on the government to take over the ownership of the utility companies, citing the epileptic power supply nationwide.It maintained that their privatisation has added nothing tangible to the growth of the economy, noting that government can no longer abandon its responsibility of ensuring that the critical sector of power management works.

The board chairman, Prof. Patricia Donli, who made the appeal yesterday at a press conference in Abuja, said: “We hereby call on government to take the bold steps necessary to correct this injustice done to the Nigerian people and the state.”Its Country Director, Ojobo Atiluku, contended that when the provision of services is left in private hands, it is the citizen that suffers.

Source: The Guardian

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