The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has kicked against the planned moves by the federal government to privatize the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, and federal hospitals in rhe country.
Speaking in Abuja at the end of its inaugural National Executive Council meeting, NEC, the President of TUC, Comrade Festus Osifo, said that the decision was taken because Nigerians have not felt the impact of previous privatizations by the government.
Osifo said that the TUC will no longer encourage any form of privatization of government’s assets again, saying that the privatization of the Distribution Company PLC Discos and the Generation Company PLC Gencos, done years ago for effective and efficient service delivery failed as Nigerians are yet to “see anything better from that sector”.
“You know today, the government have made some announcements, that they are going to privatize TCN, the Transmission Company of Nigeria and that they are also going to privatize some federal hospitals in the country.
“As TUC we take a complete exception to this and as TUC, the NEC we frown at this because of the privatization that was done before now, where are we today?”
“In 2012, 2013, the privatization process started and at the end of the day, the Discos and the Gencos were privatized, but do we have more light today than we had pre-privatization…the answer is no,” Osifo said.
According to him, most of the facilities privatized in the past ended up being sold to individuals saying that there is no guarantee that the same fate will not be the case with the planned privatization being peddled.
On the privatization of some federal government hospitals, the TUC said that it is like “adding salt to injury”, as people are already overstretched financially.
“Privatizing hospitals, it will be very costly for our hospitals to be privatized. That means healthcare is going to go beyond the reach of the common.
“Today things are difficult in our country, today, the common man has been battered, today, the living wage can no longer even pay our transport to work talk less of feeding our families or sending our children to school”, Osifo said.
He said the present challenges in the country as fundamental and called on the government as a matter of urgency to address and arrest them.
On the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU and other Unions in the Universities in Nigeria, the trade Union Congress called on the government to resolve the contending issues with the Unions stressing that the prolonged strike could not have been as a result of lack of finances on the part of the government.
“TUC as a body is here to protect our national interest. We will do everything possible to ensure that we engage the government, and also engage ASUU as well as to find an amicable solution.
“You will agree with me that where there is a will, there is always a way. Recently the Federal government spent about 1.4 billion naira to buy vehicles and donated it to the Government of the Niger Republic. If the government is serious, I can tell you that they will resolve this issue of ASUU within 48 hours.
“Go through the budgets and you will see the different budget heads. So, it is the value that is placed on education. The value that is placed on our University system is the reason why we are here today” TUC stressed.