Organized labour threatens FG over bailout to private-owned DISCOs

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Organised Labour in the country has advised the Federal Government to stop any plan to further give monies to privately-owned Electricity Distribution Companies, popularly known as Discos, as a form of bailout.

Labour organisations under the aegis of Industrial Global Union in Nigeria made the demand yesterday in Abuja, in a manifesto on Industrialisation and Diversification of African Economies for Sustainable Decent Employment for African Workers.

Speaking through the Vice President, Industrial Global Union, African region, Comrade Issa Aremu, Labour asked the Federal Government of Nigeria, to apologize to workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) on the aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) for not heeding to the warning that Nigeria was not ripe for privatization of its power sector..

According to Aremu, “There can be no industrialization without electrification. It was just announced that the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) recently developed by the federal government and the World Bank to revive Nigeria’s ailing power sector, has come up with an action plan for the sweeping restructuring of the 11 electricity distribution companies Discos that would enable government to take over any Disco found to be insolvent.

He added that, “The Federal government should apologize to the NUEE for returning to the warning that Nigeria was not ripe for privatization of its Power sector. While we await the Details of the action plan, Federal government should listen to organized labour and cancel the privatizations all together.”

Meanwhile, in the manifesto presented by Comrade Aremu, local affiliates of Industrial Global Union, observed that there can be no industrialization without electrification.

It noted that, “The Federal Government of Nigeria should stop any action plan that will further give monies to non-performing Privatized electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria while we call on all African governments to massively invest in energy mix of hydro, solar and nuclear to drive Industrialization.”

They commended a number of commendable initiatives by African governments in promoting wealth generation and reviving the industry, such as Buy-Africa campaign in South Africa and Buy Made-in-Nigeria campaign, noting that “Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osibanjo has signed three unprecedented Executive Orders mandating Government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods and services.

“These orders would help in the recovery of many factories in Nigeria. We commend Edo State government for establishing industrial parks as part of the industrialization drive. We also commend, Sokoto and Cross River States for initiating the setting up of garment factories.”

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