Organized Labor has criticized the redemption of more than N3tn granted to generation and distribution companies in the electricity sector by the Federal Government after having been privatized.

The National Union of Electricity Employees especially criticized the government for injecting funds into privately owned companies without a commensurate increase in electricity generation and supply in the last 10 years.

NUEE General Secretary Joe Ajaero delivered the criticism in Abuja on Thursday at the public hearing organized by the House Power Committee on a bill seeking to amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act. from 2005.

Committee Chairman Aliyu Magaji noted in his opening remarks that the public hearing was aimed at addressing some concerns expressed by the Nigerian Forum of Governors.

In his presentation, Ajaero noted that the privatization of the power sector had further aggravated economic problems, stressing that the policy was designed to fail from the start.

“There has been no significant improvement or contribution from current investors nine years after privatization and 17 years after the 2005 Electric Power Sector Reform Law was enacted,” he said.

Ajaero called for a total review of the privatization exercise, asking: “This Law, are we really obeying it?”

He stated: “As we speak now, almost N3tn has been injected into the electricity sector, which was not there when it was owned by the government, what is the logic to say that the government has no business in the business and the government now has to pump and finance another man’s business. We have to sit back and see what works for us.”

Referring to the recent clandestine hike in electricity rates, Ajaero said: “If the government is pumping trillions and Nigerians are forced to pay, you can see what is happening; the country is suffering”.

The NUEE leader added: “If you put N2tn in the Nigerian economy today, it will prosper. But privately owned companies are being pumped. Let’s look. What is the cost-benefit analysis of this if we have to take our money… and go and check the records for about 10 years before privatization, the government didn’t put 10 percent of that money into the sector but is putting it now. For another 10 years, no increase in generation, no conscious master plan; There is no plan in the country for the power plants to enter the system next year; none for the next two or three years so that power generation is constant at 4,000 megawatts, and the demand will continue to increase because more houses will be built, connected again and again.

Ajaero denounced that the matter was reduced to being discussed in a public hearing “and no further action is taken on how to make the system work.”

According to him, Nigeria is still at the bottom of countries suffering from “energy poverty” around the world.

He noted: “The normal concept is one million people to one thousand megawatts, and we have a country of 200 million people with 4,000 to 5,000 megawatts. Nobody is talking about it.”

Ajaero recalled that under the military regime headed by retired General Ibrahim Babangida, a feasibility study was carried out on the Mambilla plant “which had the capacity to give what we are having in this country today, and from that period until now it has not happened nothing. Same with Zungeru (power plant).”

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Energy, Goddy Jedy-Agba, has refused to explain the recent clandestine increase in the electricity tariff, stating that only the NERC can explain the rise.

Jedy-Agba, who was also in the audience, was approached by journalists after the event to explain the indiscriminate rate hike.

The minister said: “Where is the president, NERC? He is the one who does anything on the fee. I can’t talk about rates. He is the president of NERC who can talk about tariffs ”.

Reminded that his office oversees NERC, Jedy-Agba said: “No, no, no! Don’t put me in a corner. There is a responsible president of NERC. Do you want me to tell you what does not apply and you take that responsibility from me? The NERC president is here. Let me bring it here. So when you ask me, he will answer you. He is the president (of) NERC who is responsible for the rate increase ”.

However, when approached by one of the minister’s assistants sent to call the NERC president, he refused to approach the minister and left the venue in a hurry.