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FG To Subsidise Electricity Tariff By December

Following the temporary suspension of the cost reflective tariff, the Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed its intension  to spend over N900 billion before the end of December to subsidise the operations of the power sector.

Speaking with the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), in Abuja, Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu,  therefore, queried the essence of privatising the  assets if the government would continue to fund the operations . To this effect,  he revealed  that the government would issue a policy statement very soon towards the  takeover of  the distribution side of the power supply value chain.

The minister didn’t see the reason for government to subsidise the operations of the DisCos  after it was  privatised.

He noted that any more  funding in that sector would  aim  at taking  over the remaining 60 per cent of the  shareholding.

Already, he said, the government has 40 per cent of the shares of the distribution companies.

“We are going to review the nitty gritty of the contract” he insisted.

For him, the government of each state  must be interested in the distribution of power. This, he stated,  would reduce the burden placed on the Federal Government.

Adelabu also revealed that  part of the reasons the DisCos are not performing is because of their large coverage areas.

In this connection, he said that the government is looking into it with a view to reducing their  territorial coverage. Specifically, he mentioned Ibadan DisCo as covering over seven states,  insisting  that it’s too large for it.

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Meanwhile,  he discarded the rumour that the Federal Government is planning to privatise the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), saying that although it may be restructured, it would still remain under the government.

“Privatisation of TCN is not true. Not in my time. We can do restructuring but it will still be under government” he said.

The Minister, therefore, pleaded with the electricity workers under the umbrella of NUEE to collaborate with him to succeed in his given task.

He promised to constantly take them along in his plans  noting the importance of communication in a workplace.

According to him, lack of communication is the bane of every organisation.

“What causes crisis is lack of communication. God has given us everything to avert crisis. What he has not given us is the ability to read minds. All we rely on is assumptions and most of the time assumptions are not reliable. Industrial crisis happen because most of the time we don’t have time for dialogue. I cannot go to a place and take up fight with people that are supposed to help me,” he explained.

Adelabu used the occasion to clear the air on the misrepresentation by the NUEE executive following his statement on the protection of the grid.

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To this effect, he called for a joint protection of government’s national assets with the workers.

“I want to make an impact within the short time I want to stay here. I want a cordial and harmonious relationship with the workers” he pleaded.

In his remarks, the president of NUEE, Engineer Martin Uzoegwu noted that the privatisation of the power sector was a failure and unprofitable to anybody.

“This is 10 years after we privatised the power sector. Since after privatisation, it has been one step forward and two steps backward.

Privatisation of the power sector has totally failed. We told the government that we are not ripe for privatisation. We had 4,000 megawatts before privatisation and after 10 years we are still hovering around 3,000 and 4,000 megawatts. From privatisation till date the government has spent up to N2 trillion. The companies still use old network. They have not improved or added anything. They have a lot of commercial and technical losses. Most of the staff they are using are legacy workers” he noted.

Uzoegwu regretted that up till now  the government has not paid the retrenched workers 16 months shortfall of their gratuity and severance benefits saying that

the  affected workers are over 150,000 and most of them have died without receiving their benefits.

Source: Sun

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