HomeNIGERIALabour accuses FG of squandering N1.7tr in 7 years on power sector

Labour accuses FG of squandering N1.7tr in 7 years on power sector

The Power Sector arm of Nigeria’s Organised Labour yesterday raised the alarm that the Federal Government has spent over N1.7trillion  on power sector’s privatisation over the last seven years with the Distribution Companies and the Generating  Companies as the largest beneficiaries without visible improvement in power generation.

This is even as it slammed President Muhammad Buhari for comparing Nigeria’s pump price of petroleum products with Saudi Arabia and others.

The General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Mr. Joe Ajaero, at a media briefing yesterday in Lagos said with such investment the power generation ought to have tripled to 20,000MWbut have rather remained at 4,000MW, it attained before privatization.

He warned Nigerians never to believe the government and the investors in the sector that the increase in tariffs would improve power efficiency.

He said, “Increasing tariff doesn’t mean increasing or improvement in service when power generation remains constant. Seven years after, we are still on 4,000 megawatts, despite a rising population. At least they supposed to have been adding 1,000 megawatts every year. It is unfortunate that Nigeria Government privatized at N400 billion and now spent N1.7 trillion supporting DisCos and Genco’s investors who have not been able to add anything to the sector. The Federal Government has 40 percent of investment and these investors have 60 percent, but they are not bringing anything and are still calling shots in the sector.”

He said Nigerians should query the Federal Government why the sector’s privatization has not been reviewed as the law permits the take over by the government with just $1 should the investors fail to develop the sector.

He said the DisCos signed the contract that is dubious, hence they kept charging Nigerians for their inefficiency. “For instance, 90 percent of transformers supplied by the DisCos are overloaded with no relief plan and one of the agreement is to be changing transformers but because they want to maximize profit, they refused to do so”, he said. 

Ajaero, therefore, said privatization policy is out to destroy the economy of the nation and to milk Nigerians, adding that since the Distribution Companies took over the assets, nothing meaningful has changed in terms of improving on the facilities they met on the ground like power plants and turbines. 

He noted that what the government has spent in seven years was colossal, while it failed to put money to support the former Nigeria Electricity Company, stating that the government only spent N200 billion and Nigerians were better than in terms of service. According to him, it is a fraud for government to charge Nigerians at an International rate when the country has sources to generate power from coal, water, and even gas which he said unfortunately is being billed in dollars despite being produced locally.

NUEE boss, therefore, pleaded with Nigerians not to pay for the inefficiency of the system. The union also charged the government to hand over the power sector to them for proper management. 

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