- Workers Oppose N309bn Bond for Power Firms
Workers under the aegis of Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies have urged the Federal Government to shelve its plan to issue a N309bn bond to finance the power sector.
The President of the association, Chris Okonkwo, while addressing journalists in Lagos on Friday, asked the government to assess the performance of the investors in the power firms in the past three years in relation to the terms and conditions of the privatisation exercise that saw the power assets being sold to them.
He warned that power generation in the country might not be viable in the future if the government continued to give the firms handouts.
According to Okonkwo, the anticipated efficiency in service delivery from the private power firms by Nigerians has been met with deception and failed promises.
One of such failed promises, according to the SSAEAC president, is the provision of prepaid meters to electricity consumers within 18 months, which the firms have failed to supply, giving the high exchange rate as an excuse.
Okonkwo added that the power distribution companies had displayed inefficiency in revenue collection with 30 per cent collection rate as against 60 per cent that the sector recorded before the privatisation.
The president general said the financial and technical inefficiencies of the power firms were evident in the shortfall of funds they were reporting despite enjoying series of interventions from the government.
According to Okonkwo, the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria prepared a bail-out of N2013bn as part of the Nigeria Electricity Sector Intervention in March 2016 but the shortfall in revenue collections has continued to escalate.
After the assessment, he urged the government to revoke the licences of firms that showed underperformance.
“It is time for the government to call them to account. They have failed woefully in the area of revenue collection. If the Gencos cannot plough back the money used in generating power, then power generation cannot be sustained,” Okonkwo added.
The General Secretary of the union, Umar Dubagari, in a letter to the House of Representatives on the N309bn bond, called for the formulation of a proper policy to achieve quality and functional electricity generation in the country.