The United Labour Congress (ULC), on Monday described the power sector as a national embarrassment.
Labour lamented that despite private sector taking over from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Nigerians still do not enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply.
Babtunde Fashola, a former Governor of Lagos state, is the Minister of Power, works and housing under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In his May Day speech in Lagos, ULC, President, Comrade Joe Ajearo, also wondered why government was celebrating less than 4,000mw, when consumers were forced to pay estimated electricity bills against the promise of the new owners of the companies.
He reiterated the need for the Federal Government to revisit the privatization of the power sector with a view to ensuring that it added value to the lives of Nigerians.
“We suggest that the government invokes the necessary clause in the Privatisation Act that allows it to reacquire the companies in order to reverse the negative trend in the sector.
“Without a viable power sector, all the talk about diversification will remain a mirage; without electricity, SMEs are doomed and will not take off and without adequate power, we cannot hope to run a modern economy.
“It is time for the government to live up to their promise on assumption of office to revisit the privatisation of the electricity companies.”
ULC, however, commended the Federal Government for working to defend the Naira in the foreign exchange market, adding that more work must be done to get the local currency to exchange at a lesser rate that would reduce inflation and stabilise other national aggregates.
He explained that it was impossible to defend the Naira without addressing the major areas that created negative pressures against it such as the continuous importation of refined petroleum products.
The labour leader said a significant drop in fuel importation could remove the pressure on the domestic currency by 50%.
He advised government to speed up work on returning the local refineries to full capacity and invest in new refineries
Ajearo urged the federal government to set out on a deliberate effort to build domestic industrial capacity not just by stimulating private sector investments but by also investing in establishing medium and large scale industries in critical sectors of the economy.
“We cannot be the voice of neoliberalism trumpeting the mantra that government is not good for business. Many strong nations have grown their domestic industrial base on this model.”