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Labour Kicks Against Commercialisation of FG-Owned Media, Privatisation Of Refineries

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has advised the federal government against the proposed plan to commercialise the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, and the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

The labour union also kicked against the privatisation of the countries refineries, saying that the haste with which government seemed determined to sell off public properties under the guise of making them more efficient was alarming.

In a statement signed by its President, Abdulwaheed Omar on Sunday, the NLC said it was disturbed by the announcement by the director-general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, Benjamin Dikki, that plans had been concluded to privatise the refineries.

Other establishments to be commercialised include the Nigeria Films Corporation, Skypower Catering and Hotels Services, the Commodities and Exchange Commission and National Parks.

The NLC statement said BPE also announced the partial privatisation of the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and the Bank of Industries (BOI).

The Congress said there was the need for caution because these properties belong to the Nigerian people and as such, proper consultations must be made to ensure that the peoples’ interests are put into consideration.

The NLC reminded that the most recent privatisation which witnessed the unbundling of the country’s electricity sector has not yielded the desired results and electricity supply to consumers has been worsened by it, in spite of the higher tariffs demanded by the new companies.

“Government should not abdicate its social responsibilities by selling off everything that delivers services to the people. This is unwarranted, especially in a country where poverty and unemployment have become endemic, coupled with the collapse of industries,” the congress said.

The NLC noted that while private individuals may be allowed to build and own refineries, government must reactivate, maintain and take full charge of existing public refineries and also build new ones.

It therefore advised the BPE to stop the proposed sales and called on the National Assembly to probe all previous sales and retrieve public properties which may have been sold to private interests.

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