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AUPCTRE cautions government against commercialisation of water provision

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja   |   04 October 2016   |   3:14 am


Why privatisation exercises fail
The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) has cautioned the Federal Government against full commercialisation of water provision in the country.

Speaking in Abuja, the of the union, Solomon Adelegan and a principal lecturer at the University of Greenwich, Public Service International Research Unit (PSIRU) in London, Emanuele Lobina, said water is a human right that cannot be commoditized.

The union berated the decision of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) decision to support the adoption of Public Private Partnership (PPP) rather than Public-Public Partnership (PuPs) in the provision of public water supply.

The FEC had adopted the PPP model at its meeting on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.

Adelegan argued that the placement of profit before service has led to the collapse of PPP in most parts of the world especially in Nigeria where no privatized public institution has worked optimally.

While making a case for the adoption of PuPs as an alternative to the PPP, Adelegan submitted that PuPs thrives on joint ownership and placement of service above profit.

He added: “We hereby present PuPs as an alternative to PPP. To us, PuPs means collaboration between two or more public authorities or organizations based on solidarity to improve the capacity and effectiveness of one partner in providing public water supply and or sanitation services. PuPs are peer relationships forged around common value on interests and objectives, which exclude profit seeking. The absence of commercial considerations allows public partners to re-invest all available resources into the development of local capacity to build a mutual trust which translates into long term capacity gains and to incur low transaction costs.”

Adelegan also pointed out that the comparative advantage of PuPs over PPP extends to more ample opportunities for replication and scaling up.

“PuPs are far more diffused globally and induce less social resistance than PPPs. In addition, public operations that have benefitted from PuPs tend to support other public utilities in need of capacity development, thus producing a multiplier effect,” he said.

Indeed, the immediate past Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan recognized the potentials of the PuPs in 2006 when he mandated the UN-Habitat to create the Global Water Operator Partnership Alliance.

Again, in 2010, the European Commission earmarked over 400 million Euros to PuPs and other not-for-profit partnership projects in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries with the sole aim of developing operational capacity and enhance governance and sustainability in the ACP water and sanitation sector.

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