Monday, 31 March 2014

NLC To Oppose Privatisation Of NTA,NAN

FROM the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has come opposition to the reported plans by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to privatise the nation’s refineries and commercialise the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and the Nigeria Films Corporation, describing the move as   unwarranted. 
  Other entities listed to be affected by the NLC include the Skypower Catering and Hotels Services, the Commodities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Bank of Agriculture and the Bank of Industries slated for partial privatisation and the National Parks proposed for commercialisation.
  Meanwhile, there are indications that fuel supply may be disrupted this week as the Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) plans to shut down 10,000 stations to protest alleged intrusion of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) into the operations of NIPCO Plc. 
  The development came as the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) debunked media report that some staff of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) were arrested for crude oil theft and adulteration of petroleum products.
  According to the NLC, the alleged haste with which the government “seemed determined to sell off public property to members of the ruling class and their cronies under the guise of making them more efficient is alarming”.
   The union, in a statement issued by its President, Abdulwahed Omar, emphasised the need for caution, adding that the property belong to the Nigerian people as “a collective wealth and the people have never been consulted and their interests considered before the sales”.
  Besides, NLC argued that it is “scandalous that the same government who had always promised to use the gains from petroleum price increases, which it has received over the years, to reactivate existing refineries and build additional ones, can turn around to announce the privatisation of the refineries”.
  The statement said: “This is clearly unacceptable and members of the public have strongly opposed this attempt several times in the past, even on the floor of the National Assembly”.
  NLC explained that there is no evidence that previous privatisation exercises have succeeded, pointing out that “the major privatisation exercise that was implemented against public interest recently is electricity and ever since that exercise, electricity supply has worsened, while consumers pay higher even as the lights have gone off under excuses that question the competence of the new electricity companies”.
  The union advised the government not to abdicate its social responsibilities by selling off everything that delivers services to the people.     
  Part of the statement titled: “Stop Selling Public Properties”, read: “This is unwarranted, especially in a country where poverty and unemployment have become endemic coupled with the collapse of industries.
  “What we need in Nigeria is not a blind adoption of neo-liberal policies that mortgage the interests and future of our people. Our national economy depends largely on the oil industry and if we allow the industry to be handed over to private individuals, it would then mean the entire economy would become private property run by private individuals, mostly cronies of those in government, against our collective interests.

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