THE EFFECTS OF PRIVATIZATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION POLICY ON
NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
(A CASE STUDY OF PHCN, EKWULOBIA)
The privatization and commercialization of public enterprises in Nigeria was an initiation of the country’s military leaders. The review of the economy in 1985 revealed that most government parastatals were running at great loses. This was attributed to the inefficiency and waste in resource use, as a result of lack of application of capital economic principles in the management of these parastatals.
In an attempt to stem this situation, the Babangida administration decided to privatize and/or commercialize some of these obviously ailing public wealth with the hope of reducing government wasteful expenditure and improve income generation through the commercialization principle.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The import substitution policy of the post independence Nigeria led to the establishment of industries. Apart from this prime motivation for import substitution, there was the need to create jobs for the growing educated youths, the need of industrialization and the ideological argument that the government should control, regulate and supervise the commending heights of the then nascent economy.
Furthermore, there was the need to strive to catch up with the developed countries of the world and since the indigenous businessmen and managers were neither technically nor financially ready to assume the catalyst role which their counterparts in the developed countries were playing; government felt obliged to fill the investment gap. The obvious imperfections in the market oriented economics in terms of resources allocation to the more profitable but less preferred sectors of the economy was yet another reason for government intervention in the economy.
The sum total of these is that between 1960 and 1980 the various governments in Nigeria both at federal and state levels established numerous industries. The core characteristics of most of these industries were inefficiency in the utilization of resources and their consequent dependence on the public treasury for subvention. Therefore, these adverse operating condition could not make for rational economic decisions. Consequently, these enterprises and their management lost their mission and became pipes for wastages, agencies for political patronage and generally parasites on the national and state treasuries. There then arose the need for reprioritization of economic policies and the need to release the energy in economy suppressed by bureaucracy and undue control.
Government at various levels realized that goals of economic growth, full employment and high standard of living could not be actualized without the active participation and leadership of the private sector. There was therefore need for invitation to private individuals and organizations to assume the role of activation and management of the national economy. There was also the need for the infection of private sector enterprises for profitability and efficiency, hence the privatization and commercialization policy.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS.
Inefficient management and corruption have bedeviled the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) since its inception. This is most evident in its power generation, transmission, and distribution as well as in its appointment of board members. This inefficiency has subsequently led to inadequate supply of electricity to consumers.
There is also lack of dedication to duty on the part of the staff and management of the corporation. This mostly accounts for the poor financial returns it derives from its services. The staffs are rough in using the company’s equipment and tools in providing electricity to consumers at the expense of the authority. There were complaints of corruption in power distribution whereby the management seeks qualification first before approving of extension of electricity to consumers. This often robs the authority of huge revenue they would had if electricity is distributed without any form of restrictions.
PHCN ever since its inception in 2005 from the former NEPA has undergone and is still undergoing stringent statutory and administrative control which hinders the management from using their initiatives when necessary.
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to determine the effects of privatization and commercialization policy on national economic development of PHCN, Ekwulobia business unit in Anambra State.
Specifically, the study was to:
1. Determine the durability of PHCN’s plant in the generation of electricity.
2. Determine an efficient method of appointing capable persons into the management level in the enterprise.
3. Investigate and ascertain if commercialization and privatization of PHCN was in line with the objectives of the government on privatization and commercialization.
4. Ascertain an easy mode of operation in PHCN towards ensuring self-sustenance and justification of investment.
5. Find out effective methods that would enhance the service rendered by PHCN to its customers.
6. Identify better methods by which PHCN can effectively collect its services charges.
7. Suggest means or ways by which PHCN can restore public confidence in its service of electricity to consumers.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Very little is known about the privatization and commercialization programme. Consequently, many people are yet to appreciate the reasons and objectives of the programme. This research is significant in the following ways:
i. It will provide a guide on how the authority can improve its services of electricity to the consumers.
ii. It will highlight means to improve PHCN customer relationship.
iii. The study will also suggest ways by which the staff can be positively motivated in order to increase their productivity.
iv. This study will recommend better methods for recruiting the management staff that will be more dedicated to the service of the corporation.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study sought answers to the following research questions.
i. Is the partial privatization and commercialization of PHCN in line with the federal government policy of handling of the running of public enterprises?
ii. Is it possible for the enterprise to operate effectively on its own without federal government subvention?
iii. As a partially privatization and commercialized public enterprise, will PHCN be able to restore public confidence through improved services?
iv. Will the partial privatization and commercialization of PHCN lead to improvement in its operations?
v. As a partially privatization and commercialized enterprise, will PHCN be able to explore more avenues for revenue generation?
1.6 SCOPE/DELIMITATION OF STUDY
This study was delimited to the effects of privatization and commercialization on national economic development. This study will cover specifically, the effects of privatization and commercialization policy using PHCN Ekwulobia as an area of focus.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The followings constitute problems in the process of this research work:
i. The absenteeism of some PHCN staffs Ekwulobia business unit leading to poor response in the articulation of questionnaires.
ii. The poor generation of data for an accurate analysis.
iii. The attitude of some PHCN staffs on the aspect of providing sincere information about their operation.
iv. The composition of the staffs which includes both permanent and part-time workers.
v. The inability of the top management to response to interview.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS.
i. PHCN – Power Holding Company of Nigeria. It is the only statutory provider of electricity throughout the whole country. It came into existence in 2005.
ii. TCPC – Technical Committee on Privatization and Commercialization. It is the body set up by the Federal Government to implement the privatization and commercialization of some public enterprises in accordance with the privatization and commercialization decree No. 25 of 1988. It was established on 27 of July 1988.
iii. PRIVATIZATION: According to Ugbo (2003:191) privatization is all about the transformation of public undertaking to a private enterprise organization.
iv. COMMERCIALIZATION: The privatization and commercialization decree of 1988 in Ugbo (2003:190) defined commercialization as the reorganization of enterprises wholly or partly owned by the federal government in which such commercialized enterprises shall operate as profit making venture without subventions from the federal government.
v. POLICY – This refers to a plan of action adopted by government or social group towards accomplishing some end for the actions and inactions of the state.
vi. NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – This refers to measures put in place by government to develop the sectors of the economy simultaneously to bring in even and rapid development of the nation.