BUSINESS 

Ripples as govt mulls review of 11 DisCos’ ownership

The decision by the Federal Government to review the 40 per cent ownership of the 11 power distribution companies (DisCos) has sparked controversy in the sector.

It was gathered that the issue has caused disagreement between the Federal Government and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SAAEAC), resulting in allegations and counter allegations among them.

While the SAAEAC which is the body that is representing senior workers in the industry, describes the issue of the planned review of the ownership of the eleven DisCos as wrong and devoid of careful planning, government, on the other hand, is harping on the fact that the sector is yet to grow, six years after privatization.

An official of the union said there are holes in the issue, saying that the actual review of the assets of the electricity distributors in the country is 30 per cent, not 40 per cent, when one considers the issue of labours’ first right of refusal of 10 per cent, which is yet to be released by the Federal Government.

The source, who does not want to be mentioned, said the government was trying to be economical with the truth, saying the total assets of the firms which were unbundled from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2013, was 30 per cent, and not 40 per cent, as Nigerians were made to believe.

The source said: “Our (ASSEAC) concern is that the government is yet to do anything on the labour’s first right of refusal, which in line  with the provisions of the constitution is 10 per cent. Based on this, the actual assets of the firms, which the government is trying to review is 30 per cent and not 40 per cent.

The source said the planned review of the ownership of the firms would be jeopardised, if the government fails to release the 10 per cent which is labour’s first right of refusal.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government recently appointed the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, as the Head of the ad hoc Committee that would review the ownership of the power distribtution firms. Thereafter, the Imo State Governor, Emeka Iheodia, announced the decision of the Committe to speed up the process of reviewing the performance of the firms.

He said the National Council on Privatisation and the Bureau of Public Enterprise(BPE) would sit on the board of the committee, with a view to properly assessing the true position of things, while at the same time, proffering solution to the problems in the sector.

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