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ALTERNATIVES TO PRIVATISATION OF NEPA/PHCN (special edition; October)

• It is corruption that crippled NEPA/PHCN. Therefore government should prosecute and bring to book all those who have contributed to milking NEPA/PHCN. They include former President Olusegun Obasanjo under whose regime not less than US$18 billion was siphoned on electricity alone; members of the Committee to reform PHCN, Board and Management members, including Danjuma Goje (Gombe state), Segun Agagu (Ondo state), and Liyel Imoke (Cross Rivers state), Prof. Bartholomew Nnaji, adviser to President Jonathan on Power Sector, Chairman of Committee to privatise NEPA/PHCN and the owner of Geometrics Power Ltd, Aba.
• All the individuals, owners and beneficiaries of the companies found culpable in the probe of the electricity sector by the National Assembly should be prosecuted and brought to justice.
• All public officials, elected and appointed, their family members, relatives and cronies should be prohibited from taking public contracts, including contracts in the electricity sector. It is immoral and unethical for members of the government who unconstitutionally decide to privatise public enterprises to seek to be the beneficiaries of the same unconstitutional policy.
• Retain the jobs of about 50,000 workers rather than lay them off for the sake of some elected and appointed public officials, or their cronies who seek to turn NEPA/PHCN from its public monopoly status to private monopolies. Some of the current or former public officials (and their cronies) who hide under the veil of registered companies to share Nigeria into their private companies include Vice President Namadi Sambo who owns Manyatta Engineering Services Ltd and has a contract to build 330/132kv power transmission lines and Umuahia substations; Senator Okon Aribema, owner of Arik, is also the contractor handling Aloji Power Station; Roseline Atu, nee Osula, MD Ziglasses, merely fronts for former President Obasanjo; and OBJ himself owns Farm Electric.
• Retain the electricity subsector of the economy, at least, on the basis of the current constitutional provisions. S. 16(1)(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) provides that without prejudice to its right to operate or participate in other sectors of the economy, the Government shall manage and operate the major sectors of the economy. It is a form of corruption to run society contrary to constitutional provisions.
• The performance of companies in the private sector does not recommend the private sector as a better alternative to supply electricity for social and economic needs. Evidence: the collapse of Nigerian banks for which the CBN had to use over N1.82 trillion to salvage them!
• The lesson of privatisation in other sectors does not recommend privatisation as a viable alternative policy to public ownership. Evidence: only 10% of 400 privatised firms in Nigeria are functioning at optimal level. Source of information: Bureau of Public Enterprises BPE).
• Privatisation will deepen poverty as many homes and small private companies, as well as public schools and clinics, may not be able to access electricity due to increment in cost of tariff per kilowatt-hour (pkwh) once NEPA/PHCN is fully privatized.
• Privatisation will bring untold hardship in terms of loss of jobs to the remaining workers of NEPA/PHCN (about 50,000) both junior and senior. This will have negative implications on the capacity of retrenched workers to meet the education and health needs of their children. Yet, S. 16(1)(b), CFRN, 1999 Provides that government shall control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of ordinary people. Also, S. 17(2)(c) prescribes that “governmental actions shall be humane”. The policy of privatisation which results in mass job losses and drives prices of goods and services beyond the reach of ordinary people is an affront to the Constitution, which the rulers swore to uphold!
• Manage NEPA/PHCN through elected representatives of trade unions, central labour organisations, relevant professional bodies and elected government officials who shall earn only the average salary of public/civil servants.
• On the long run, Socialist Bulletin advocates a socialist transformation of the entire economy, not only within the national boundary but also internationally.

About socialistworkersbulletin

a bi-weekly publication of the Socialist Workers League, in the traditions of International Socialism. we stand for revolution from below! and our call is: workers & youths! unite & fight!

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