Mass Sack Looms in Nigeria’s Power Sector

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LAGOS, JANUARY 10, 2017 – A fresh round of workers’ sack is imminent in the power sector as efforts to mitigate crises in the nation’s electricity sector face difficulties. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who disclosed this in Lagos yesterday, charged the distribution companies (DISCOs) to begin the sack of “bad eggs” in their services, up their service delivery, or leave if they consider these impossible to do.

Addressing the 11th Monthly Stakeholders’ meeting at Ikeja West 330/132kv Transmission Station in Ayobo-Ipaja, the minister expressed displeasure over alleged attitude and misconduct of some DISCO workers to customers whom, he said, suffered various degrees of molestation and insults.

The Federal Government, Fashola maintained, received a petition through his office from a Professor from Rivers State University, Port Harcourt on the misconduct of some staff of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC).

Reiterating that the power investors and all stakeholders must bear more burdens this year to get efficient service delivery from the power sector, the minister said that the DISCOs owe it as a duty to fish out some staff this year. “Not so many but some bad eggs.

I got a letter from a professor at Rivers State University about the way he was not only billed incorrectly, but also treated rudely by staff of PHDC. You need to let your staff know that without customers they don’t have jobs.

“We all know the issues around metering, billing; we must build that trust and confidence that customers’ complaints will be addressed. Without the customers and the consumers, there is no business and I think that all of us in the public and private sectors must understand that. If you don’t have the skin and the patience to serve, leave,” he said.

The stakeholders, he stated, must “use this year to tell our staff that without our customers, they don’t have a job, and if you are not in a good mood, don’t pick the telephone.

“As a public appeal, we need to do whatever is possible to do in our various distribution areas to improve the quality of service to continue to train personnel, to recognise that the customer is king and even if we cannot provide or solve the problem, we owe it a duty to explain what we are doing.

We owe it a duty to fish out a few staff, not all because we have some dedicated staff. “It is a thankless job, but it is no good undertaking to serve. I am conscious of the challenges operators face.

My team and I are working as hard as we can to make the environment more responsive to you. And as I have said, and will repeat, that as pioneers, you will carry some burden. “You will have to sacrifice perhaps more than what you have done, but I am optimistic that it will get better.

I am optimistic that we can win together and we can win for the Nigeria people.” On the liquidity issues, Fashola said that government was working with other development partners.

“The liquidity issues are all too well known and as you might have heard in some of the statements that I made this morning and our ministry had made in the past, we are working with other partners such as development partners, local partners, international partners.

They would have shown commitment and inspiring appetite to play in this market and we are trying to see what we can do together in order to bring the liquidity issues under some control and from there eventually solve it.”

In his welcome address, the Managing Director, Ikeja Electric, Mr. Anthony Youdeiwoe, stated that 2016 was a challenging year for stakeholders.

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