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Page 30, THISDAY, Vol. 16 No. 5838

Monday, April 18, 2011

.news PHCN Privatisation: Electricity Workers Issue 14-day Ultimatuin orkers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has handed down a 14-day ultimatum to government to suspend further action on privatisation of PHCN until all outstanding labour issues are resolved. The workers are also caII-

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By Linda Eroke ing for a probe into the corruption allegation against those individuals that have mismanaged and misappro-

priated funds a1locate4 to revamp the sector over the years, particularly the findings ofElurnelu's Committee Report, without further delay. The union is further seeking the immediate removal of

the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Nuhu Wya, whom they alleged has shown gross incompetence and ineptitude in the management of the sector. The two unions in the sector, National. Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff

/.,R: President, lAgos Cluzmber of Commerce and Industry, Otunba Ferni Dero/'onner Minister of ~iUIustry, ChiLf Mrs Nik£ A1auuJe, VICe President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr, Goodi£ Ibro" at the Public PresenJotWn of the 2011 Lagos Intel7ll1lWnoI Tade Fair Prospectus, held at Commerce House, in Lagos..recentIy . . PHOTO: Sunday Adlgun

Fanners Demand 50% Representatioh 41.Agric Policy Processes , ' .. .. :

oalitions of Civil Society under the Voice for Food Security campaign . con'.. sortium have asked for 50 per cent representation of small-scale farm holders concerning agricultural policies in the counny. The coalition , which lamented that small scale farmers who provide 70 per cent of the nation's food were poorfy-represented in critical decision making in the sector, called for their full incorporntion in the policy making process, so as to

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achieve the nation '5 vision

20:2020. The National President Civil Society Coalition for Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE) Dr Dom Okoro,' who made the demand in Abuja during an AiH~.~ltural Budget fucking

.J From Yemi Akinsuyi in Abuja

Trnining Workshop for members of the Association of Small-scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), said low participation of small farm holders has been a bane to food insecurity in the counny. Okoro maintained that the national budget in the sector had suffered setbacks because of poor implementation in addressing.the real needs of the Nigerian farmers, adding that appropriation ..to the sector· should not be quifltity: based; rnther it should be on quality, and to aid this,-the government

THIs The !' 'usinessTEAM Group BusIness Editor

KUNlE ADERINOKUN ipegutv Gmup Business Edjtors

ABIMBOlAAKOSILE FRANCIS·UGWOKE

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CHIKAAMANZE-NWACHUKU Maritime Editor JOHN IWORI . Agribusiness & Indum Editor CRUSOE OSAGIE CommunicationS & e-Busioess EdHor

EFEMNKANGA Monev Martet Editor

EMELEONU

. Cannal Mait<ei EdHpr GODOY EGENE'

Senior CorreSpondents (Nation~ CapitaQ'

RAHEEM A.KINGBot.U . (AcNerli~n9 &Ma~eJ!l)9j ' . ~oondemS CHINEDU EZE (Aviation)

NNAMDI DURU ~nsuranc&Pensionl.. , . UNOA EROKE (LabOw) EROMOSELE ABIODUN (t;apital MkJ) .. EJIOFOR ALIKE (Energy) JAMES EMEJO (Nation~ CapdaQ . OBINNA CHIMA (Money Malkel) SAM ADEGBE (ProdudXJn EdifoIj

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should set up a monitoring and evaluation team so as to checkmate problem regarding poor implementation . Lamenting that many ruial farmers do not understand the intricacies of the budgetary allocation in the sector, he said that the workshop was aimed at building the capacities of the farmers so · as to give them room to fully participate in the government programmes and policies affecting them. According tq him "our concern is that the small scale farmers who produce all .the food are not fully recognised in, government policies and pro-'.' grammes, sp we want the government policies to address the . desires of the rural fartners". The programme officer Oxfam GB , Mr. Ayodeji Jaiyeoba, who stressed the need for the government to shift attention .from looking for food aid to food production, lamented the inconsistency of government In policy formulation and implementation framework . .' ' .. Jaiyeoba , explained. tha~. serving Mirusters in tJie' ""tor; had come and gone with their initi~tives an.d policies , stating . that' this ·had lI'll\~e the pqlicy. framewoik in the sector ineon: sisr.on,t, there\ly hayipg nega-~ . tive impact on ihe.investttientin:. the sector. .... . He recommen'ded that for, the country to·achjeve its vision· of beillg o~e pc.,the larg~st economies by 2020, serving Ministers should monitor their' policieS"so as to :31ign with the . vision of acfiieving 10. per cent GDP growth rnte . .

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He said "there is no target of the agricultural growth rnte, so resources appropriated to the sector are badly utilised without target adding that the countries trade policies had contradict agricultural policies and this has made it difficult f01: farmers to channel their produce appropriately". . Stating that Government policies are mostly in. favour of large scale farmers, he called for a re-direction by putting the small-scale farmers on iop priority, adding that if small scale farmers are. given the chance, there would be increase in labollr productivity ~· in the counny, and . adequate provision of food. .

Associaficin dfElitticity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) issued the ultimatum last Friday at a joint press conference in Lagos. The union wamed thar should government fail to address the issues mised ar the expiration of the ultimatum which commenced on Man:h April 15, 2011, it would not hesitate to direct members to withdraw its services across the country. Briefing journalists shortly after the an emergency meeting' SSAEAC President, Mr. Bede Oparn, lamented government insincerity with the reforms in the power sector noting that rather than engage the unions in dialogue, government has been evasi ve and had resorted to intimidation and blockmail. The unions are, among others things, demanding the management of PHCN to pay up the balance of the . negotiated ISO per cent salary increase as well as regularise the employment of over 10,000 casual workers in the corporation . Opara observed that there is no clear structure in the sector showing who is incharge, alleging that government and its agencies have undervalued the asset of PHCN nationwide, with the sole aim of selling them to their cronies and business partners as it has done to other failed privatised companies. He said the unions remain opposed . to outright privatisation of the sector, noting that private sector participation, alongside the PHCN companies, remains the only way to grow the sector on a sustainable basis. He challenged government to tell Nigerians what social services it owes the citizenry if electricity service is transferred from public monopoly to private monopoly. ''Government's insensitiv-

ity in proceeding with processes of privatisation without addressing labour issues and arrnngements, is an affront to the unions, a negation of workers' rights, and cannot be allowed to go unchallenged . GOvernment's refusal to honour agreements reached with the workers reinforres that government is

InSincere , confrontational , oppressive and contemptuous to the rights of citizens. ''Despite the willingness uf labour in the sector to enter disaJSsions on the outstanding agreements , the government has been evasive, deceptive and has resorted to blockmail on the pages of Newspapers," he said. Speaking also at the event, NUEE General Secretary, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said labour was aware of the various toctics being deployed by government to hand over all assets of PHCN to private investors , calling on investors to stay clear from the bidding process; stressing that that the unions wi ll make the environment unconducive for such investors. He said the union decision to issue the l4-day notice in order to allow the process of election in the country to fi'n-

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'The unions will never be tired of making noise and e will continue to shout· until government listen to us . .\\\! are wai ting for those they will hand over the power plants to, as long as we are workers, govemment cannot sell PHCN assets over our heads. No investor will be allowed to operate or worl!:_ until our demands have beeri met. ':. ''We want to allow the process of election to find s!? that nobody will accuse us of disrupting the general e1ec-~, tions disrupting election or that our struggle is political. As at today, they have not engaged us , not even the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) or Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) . "Rather than engage us, they have mobilised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) , armed mobile police on us. The truth is that even if they intimidate us such that we can no longer fight, another set of leaders will come up to .continue the · struggle," he said. On the monetisation issue, Ajaero said over 800 mem~ bers were yet to be paid their monetisation benefits as against reports by government that it has settled .the.. monetisation arrears of PHCN workers .

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Arab, Bank Builds N487m Dams in Nigeria

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'6'~ ' Ar~b Bank for .' Economic j:)evelopment in Africa (HADIYA) has boosted food production in Nigeria with the supply of N487 million for earth Dams. The pilot states for the dams ProjeclS are Kaduna with N240 million and Ogun funded with N248 million . .. -: Briefing newsmen iri Abuja at ··tlie signing of contrnct agreement ,and presl'ntation of

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From Yemi Akinsuyi in Abuja

fits. The two contractors are Gentech Power Nigeria Limited for Kaduna State, and Top-Man Engineering and Construction Limited for

fitting ' from BADIYA ' in Nigeria. ''We should ensure that the job is well done and at the right time too. Expectedly, Kaduna and Ogun are the key states :where this programme will show how dedicated we are to this project." Although the NPAFs boss said four states, including Ogun, Oyo , Katsina, and Kaduna were to benefit from the bank's donation, they are

~~~~rs~~~ir(M~~ ~! O~~~t~hO said tbe pro- ~~~gs~~!:t~li~~;;~:~

for construction 'arid rehabilitation of earth c!=s in thi: tWo stilles, . the ." ),<ational • Co.ordinator, NatIOnal Programme for Agricult)Ire .andFood.Security (NPAFS), Alliaji BukarTijani, said the dams would serve as points where there would be water for irrigation, drinks for __ ,__ •• c.:.. ____• _.L _ _ L __ •

gramme will begin irrunediately and is expected to be completed within six months, noted that the performance of

the contractors would go a long way in cementing business relationship with BADIYA. Continuing, he said: "This is the first time we will be hene-

the fight against hunger. The Chief Technical Adviser of the earth dams' project, Abdulazeez Mohammed, explained that six new dams and rehabilitation of three old dams would be in Kaduna, while Ogun will have six new dams and


THISDAY, 18 APRIL, 2011