PSI, CSOs flay PPPs, say it’s new face of corruption
The Public Services International (PSI) and civil society organisations (CSOs) have condemned the high incidence of public private partnerships (PPPs), saying the development encourages cronyism in the sale of state enterprises.
Public private partnership, they argue, has become the new face of corruption in government circle, as officials unrepentantly sell off assets to individuals through cronies and allies.
Representatives of PSI and civil society groups, including the Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), stated this at a workshop in Lagos.
The event, with the theme, Public Private Partnerships Versus Public Sector Solutions, and attended by CSOs, journalists, grassroots groups and labour unions, stressed the need for the masses to resist any moves by governments to privatise key sectors like education, health, energy and water among others.
Speaking, PSI’s Head of Campaigns, Sandra Vermuyten, who represented the General Secretary, Roas Pavanelli, stated that there was a growing trend globally wherein public institutions were being sold to private investors, resulting in what she described as corporate conquest or neo-colonialism.
She stressed that people were not poor, but only being ripped off by moneybags in connivance with governments and multinationals globally.
In her paper, PSI’s Campaign Against Privatisation of Public Service, 2030 Agenda And Current Policy Issues, Vermuyten urged the citizens to oppose the move by the Lagos State government to privatise water, noting that the city, which houses 23 million people, holds the future for Nigeria and Africa.
In his presentation titled Water Privatisation: The Case Of Our Water, Our Right, Deputy Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Akinbode Oluwafemi, restated that Veolia, Abengoa, Metito/Visionscape, which the state government has engaged to manage its water sector, had allegedly failed in other climes and could not be entrusted with this sensitive sector.
His words: “For instance, the Lagos State government has guaranteed a N50 billion loan for Visionscape. As if that was not enough, it signed a memorandum of understanding to pay the company N1.5 billion monthly for managing its waste disposal, which amounts to N85 billion of tax payers money in the next 10 years.
He, therefore, urged ordinary Nigerians to resist the privatisation bid.
Others who spoke at the two-day workshop, including the Vice President of PSI, Peters Adeyemi, Jaye Gaskia, Francis Abayomi, Achike Chude and Baba Aye, among others enjoined Nigerians to resist the move, describing privatisation of water as an attempt to take away their lives.