Federal Government and Electricity Workers Reach Agreement Over Power Privatisation Issues

The Federal Government and electricity workers yesterday charted a new course for the resolution of lingering labour-related crises threatening the power privatisation programme.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali, who spoke at the end of a meeting with organised labour in Abuja, said that all contentious issues have been resolved by the implementation committee.

This came even as the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Power, Mr. Beks Dagogo-Jack, said in Lagos that the new investors will only be able to take physical possession of privatised assets after all labour issues have been addressed.

Speaking at the Power Investors Summit Nigeria yesterday, he maintained that the Federal Government is fully aware of all the issues, and has shown a level of goodwill never before seen in Nigeria over the years.

He reiterated government’s commitment to the power reforms programme, saying that the transition period will fully come on stream January 2014.

According to him, the pre-transition period will afford the new owners the opportunity to test-run facilities, fine-tune things; make adjustments, so that when they take full possession, they cannot go wrong.

“It is the best thing to have a very clear pre-transition dimension, where people are doing the business as if they are in transition. But a few things have not been properly set the way they should be. So they will test it and see what needs to be done. It is an adjustment regime and it is not bad at all,” he noted.

Severance package

Dagogo-Jack noted that the labour issues are multi-faceted, adding that payment of workers’ severance package is just a small part in the entire process.

He said the physical handover of the assets will take place after the last person has been paid, saying, “The physical handover is delayed to tidy up the payment, which has been agreed with labour.”

The presidential aide further said: “The dispute resolution has to be put in place before the new investors commence operations. However, I can assure Nigerians that the dispute resolution mechanism has been set up and all the disputes will be resolved.

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