President Goodluck Jonathan has said that labour issues, especially the payment of workers’ entitlements, will not stop the Federal Government from physically handing over the privatised power generation and distribution companies to private investors in two weeks’ time.
The President spoke at the inauguration of the 500-megawatts Omotosho 11 power plant in Ondo State on Saturday.
He said there was no need for any industrial action from the workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
He promised that all labour issues would be resolved and all entitlements paid.
“Power assets will be physically handed over to the private sector in two weeks’ time. Labour issues will be fully resolved and all entitlements will be paid. There is no need for industrial demonstration,” he said.
Workers under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees had kicked against the handing over of the power assets to private investors without complete settlement of workers’ entitlement.
Jonathan said, “This event is part of our efforts to provide adequate and sustainable power supply in our country.
“We would have finished the inauguration of the 10 NIPPs before the end of the first quarter of next year.
“The decision to privatise the power sector was made for the long term benefit of our nation.”
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said the new Omotosho power plant would spur development of transmission infrastructure that would ensure that the power generated got to the end users.
He said, “To further enhance the wheeling capacity of the power transmission network and full evacuation of the generated output of the two power plants now in Omotosho, the Transmission Company of Nigeria has commenced work on a new transmission substation located close to Omotosho village and an additional 330kv transmission line circuits to Epe, Aja and Oke Aro in Lagos.
“The project also includes the modification of the existing NGC’s gas station to provide independent metering and facilitate steady gas supply to the new power plant.”
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, owners of the 10 NIPPs that have already been privatised, Mr. James Olotu, described the NIPP as an intervention programme of the three tiers of government to address the huge infrastructural gap in the power sector.
Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, congratulated the President for successfully spearheading the privatisation of the power sector.
Information from Punch was used in this report.