Group faults privatization policies in Africa

African governments have been asked to reject privatization and anti-people models of intervention in energy and other sectors marketed by the World Bank and corporate powers under the privatization umbrella.

The call was made by participants at a Public Private Partnerships versus Public Sector Solutions meeting in Lagos.

The meeting said that privatization under any guise, including Public Private Partnerships, PPP, was not the solution to the poor performance of the public sector.

According to them, Civil society, labour unions, students and grassroots groups need to build strong synergies and work together to halt the advance of privatization sweeping across the African continent.

The participants said there was a need to link the governance issues at the domestic front and across Africa with the global campaigns against privatization and for tax justice.

The meeting advocated the involvement of civil society, faith-based organisations and people at the grassroots level, particularly Community Development Associations (CDAs) in awareness campaigns and actions to stop privatization in all forms.

According to them, Communities must assert their ‘citizenship’ rather than accept ‘consumership’ through privatisation.

Other decisions

The meeting agreed that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) be explored and used as a tool to demand information on existing PPP projects.

The group called for a probe of all funding for PPP projects across Africa, particularly in the water, energy, health and other sectors and commencement educating people at the grassroots on the dangers of PPP via mobile outreach.

It also called for the involvement of the media in the promotion of success stories in the fight against PPP in the water and other sectors across Africa to boost the morale of agitators for change.

According to the group, promotion of further research in other countries on the African continent on the performance of PPPs as has been documented in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and elsewhere.

The meeting on Public Private Partnerships versus Public Sector Solutions was organised by Public Services International (PSI) in collaboration with 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).

Participants were drawn from among civil society, labour unions from Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria as well as grassroots communities in Lagos, Nigeria.

The keynote address entitled Campaign Against Privatisation of Public Services, 2030 Agenda and Current Global Policy Issues was delivered by PSI Head of Campaigns, Sandra Vermuyten.

She said there was a disturbing privatization tsunami sweeping across Africa backed by corporate powers that promote privatization as an alleged panacea to mismanagement in the public sector in Africa.

According to Ms Vermuyten, 20 years of World Bank promotion of PPPs and other models of privatisation have not yielded the much-touted success but instead left African countries with huge debts, infrastructural depletion and outright abdication of governmental responsibilities in terms of providing public services for their citizens.

Source: Voice of Nigeria