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Monday, July 15, 2024

Why Buhari must reverse privatized electricity assets – TUC

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has given reasons why President Mohammadu Buhari must  reverse privatized electricity assets saying that the new ‘owners’ have failed abysmally, or merely engaged in asset-stripping. 

In its 2023 new year message titled: The pains of 2022 can be replaced by gains in 2023, signed by its President, Engr. Festus Osifo, the workers’ union, stated that the workers are not only demand the review of the entire privatisation exercise and a transparent accountability of its proceeds, but also call for the reversal of privatized entities where, like the electricity sector, the new ‘owners’ have failed abysmally, or merely engaged in asset-stripping. 

“Irrespective of the nomenclature given or the deceptive garb of efficiency, our experience as a people, show that privatization is the mere transfer of public wealth into private hands. The example of the electricity sector, clearly indicates also that the private sector can be even less efficient than the public sector. Therefore, anybody or group pushing for further privatisation of our national assets do not mean well for Nigeria”

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The TUC rejects the clamour by some politicians and political office holders to continue the importation of petroleum products at prohibitive costs while simultaneously, campaigning and making moves to stop fuel subsidy. 

“Politicians who love Nigerians would first return the country to local refining thereby creating mass jobs and making the products cheap, accessible and available before contemplating removal of fuel subsidy. We also demand that the Buhari government ensures that PMS is available and sold at the official pump price in fuel stations. The emergent culture of selling such highly inflammable commodity in jerry cans in street corners and residential houses, must be stopped”.

On oil production, TUC noted that it is tragic that after 65 years of oil production, Nigeria is still unable to verify its daily oil production or add value to its crude oil that would have vastly increased its oil revenues.

“The same calamity is visited on the country which flares its gas, damaging its environment and losing money while its rural populace relies on firewood for domestic cooking”.

Speaking on corruption, Osifo said: “We commend all the anti-corruption agencies of government for the successes recorded so far. However, beyond the recoveries of looted funds and properties, we expect that there must be serious consequences for engaging in corruption. Except there is serious deterrence, the looting will not end. Defecting from a particular political party to the ruling party should not stop a thief from bearing the consequences of his or her action”. 

“The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) declared few weeks ago that the agency has recovered N134.3bn and $121m, among others in 10 months. We have also seen videos of decayed naira notes brought out likely due to the recent policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on redesigning the Nigeria. The culprits did not deposit the money in the bank which could have been used for productive purposes, but for insatiable greed”.

It is tragic that monies meant for infrastructure and creation of jobs ended up in private pockets, but more tragic is it that some people view such criminals through the prism of ethnicity and religion. No serious country does that. 

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