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PSI to increase campaign against privatisation in Africa

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
20 December 2016   |   1:49 am
The Public Service International (PSI) would increase its campaign against the spread of privatisation policy in Africa in 2017 and beyond.
Peters Adeyemi. PHOTO:

Peters Adeyemi. PHOTO:

Tasks workers on obligations to organisational growth

The Public Service International (PSI) would increase its campaign against the spread of privatisation policy in Africa in 2017 and beyond.

The President of PSI Africa, Peters Adeyemi, who stated this in Abuja in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, explained that governments across the continents are now finding it comfortable to put critical sectors such as power, water provision, health and education in the hands of the private sector.

He said: “A fight against privatization is one fight we took very seriously in 2016 and we are going to take it forward into 2017 and be more serious with it.

“We find that particularly in the African region, that African governments are seriously involved in disengaging from provide these critical amenities to the people. We are worried that what become of government when the public sector completely takes over the provision of critical amenities such as electricity, water, education and health to the people?”

He explained that PSI has protests and strikes in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and other countries to stop privatization of energy and water.

Adeyemi, who is also the General Secretary of Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU), argued that even in Nigeria, experience of the privatization of electricity sector has shown that there has been a great deal of incompetence on the part of the new investors.

He argued that there are countries that are managing their critical sector such as aviation and electricity with collaboration with the private sector and that the endeavours have not collapsed, saying such experiment has indeed shown that government has business in business.

While admitting that it is hard to clap with one hand, Adeyemi submitted that for organizations to deliver on their mandates for the benefits of workers as well as management, workers must play their part. 

He argued that workers themselves should do more to help the situation saying, “we trade union people like protect the interests of our members but we are not supposed to be doing so at the expense of institutions. Clearly, if an institution is established to deliver on certain goals, it must be seen to be delivering on the mandate. There is no institution that can deliver on its mandate when the workers are not doing what is expected of them. For these struggles and fights to achieve desired result, are members who are workers must be seen to be doing what will help institutions to grow towards delivering their mandates in excellence manner. They must do this in order to ensure that when governments are citing reasons they must privatize, it must not be traced to the inefficiency of workers.”

The NASU Scribe maintained that PSI does not think that good governance is possible when governments say they do not have business in the provision of education, water, health and electricity.

He flayed the ‘quick fix it’ approach of African governments to development through abdication of its responsibilities to the private sector.

“What our governments look out for most times is quick fix when there are problems in the institutions. But the so-called private investors are people who also derive their source of investment from government. They are peopled by the very few amongst us who are cronies of public servants who have managed to loot the treasury for their personal gains. Again, most of the institutions are grossly undervalued when put in the market,” he stated.

He lauded Kenya, Egypt and South Africa for keeping Airways in business by partnering with the private sector to make that happen.  

He stated that governments need not divest completely from institutions but should rather go into partnerships that would ensure government part-ownership of institutions to prevent abuse and delivery of quality service to the people.

His explanation: “The PSI is not saying that public institutions should be run at a loss or that people should abdicate their responsibilities because it is entirely government business. In fact there is mentality that government business is not supposed to generate any profit. That is completely out of tune and reality.”