The frequent industrial action by workers in the electricity supply industry has resulted in the loss of about N7.734bn between 2014 and 2016, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.
Fashola disclosed this at the third triennial delegates’ conference of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies in Abuja last week.
The minister stated that the huge revenue loss was arrived at after he conducted a snap survey of strikes embarked upon by workers in the sector between April 2014 and March 2016.
He urged the workers to reconsider their resistance to private investors in the sector as well as their views of the investors as being exploitative.
Fashola said, “Can an employee who caused the employer such financial losses in all good conscience expect improved welfare package or industrial peace? Or have the employees taken over from the employers?
“Our job is to provide electricity and get paid for it; we have no other job. If electricity is not enough, it means that we haven’t provided it, you and I. If there is not enough electricity, it is not the fault of the President but you and I, who are employed to work in this sector.”
Similarly, the Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, urged the Nigeria Labour Congress to consider ongoing negotiations on the recently introduced electricity tariffs before embarking on a nationwide strike.
The labour union had on Wednesday threatened to declare a one-day nationwide strike against the government in protest of electricity tariff hike and fuel scarcity across the country.
Ngige, however, noted that such an action would be unnecessary because the National Assembly had already taken up the issue.
The minister pleaded with the labour movement to tarry with its planned industrial action.
He said, “The dispute over the increment in electricity tariff is right before the National Assembly and it is only right that as law abiding social partners, that all parties afford the National Assembly to arbitrate.
“The president of the NLC is not here, but this occasion offers a crucial avenue for me to state the government’s position on this hot button issue. In tandem with the theme of your conference this year, I must state that the Federal Government is concerned with good governance in all sectors of the economy and the subsequent expansion of the infrastructural and super-structural base of the Nigerian economy.