Barely four years after criticising the 2013 privatisation of the now-defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) for failing to meet its 10,000 Megawatt target, the Buhari-led administration has gone on to privatize the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and is gearing up to do same for the nation’s federal ports.
The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which is the conduit through which Buhari stealthy transformed NNPC into a limited liability company, requires that the body aggressively pursues profit, keeps 20% of such profit for expansion, earmarks only 3% of its earnings for the development of host communities as well as erases the guarantee of job security as with most private companies in Nigeria.
Going by the low quality yet astronomical surge in cost of power since the privatisation of PHCN and the attendant helplessness of the government to the plight of Nigerians, the privatisation of NNPC will only grant leeway to arbitrary increases in the cost of petroleum products with the government, heaping the blame on a so-called private sector largely consisting of greedy and corrupt politicians, operating fictitious companies for the sole purpose of embezzlement.
Privatising the NNPC or the Nigerian Port Authority is destructive as it remains highly crucial to a Nigerian economy heavily dependent on imports and webbed around the price of petrol. Changes in the price affects transportation, food prices, housing cost, cost of education and virtually every other economic activity.
It resonates a crying shame that a country of over 200 million people is unwilling to find capable persons to oversee its key sectors and will now hurl the collective heritage of its citizens to the hands of greedy capitalists — another corrupt exploitation of the masses.
Nigerians, civil societies and labour pressure groups like the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) must rise up to repeal Buhari’s destructive privatisation spree to the detriment of the masses.