Wrong perception on power station sale
Jenny Teo, Director, Energy Market Authority, wrote a letter to Today to explain the rationale for the sale of power stations to private companies. The story that the govt was selling the stations for 'good profit' and to avoid 'having to explain to the public high (electricity) tariffs' were wrong. These were not the reasons why the power stations were divested. It was all a govt's strategy to open up the market for more competition, restructure the industry, which ultimately will benefit the consumers. And this is already bearing fruits. Otherwise the consumers will now be paying much higher tariffs when oil prices rose. The efficiency and productivity gains were passed on to the consumers. With the opening up, with participation of more players, with liberalisation, 'there will be more scope for innovation, better service and competitive pricing' which means consumers will benefit more. The main logic is still privatisation. Organisations that are not privatised will be inefficient and unproductive. This logic is quickly loosing its meaning and becoming stale. The civil servants of today are no longer the dumb and dull civil servants of yesteryears. They are the best of the crop, the best talents of the country. And they have all the resources to improve and better the system. They can do all their studies, go on study trips, all information and technology are open secret and available to them. The civil servants can do much better, given their talents, to run more efficient and productive organisations. There is no need to privatise, to commercialise, to be efficient. In the present context, a govt monopoly is an advantage and can be very productive given the scale of operations. Unless our civil servants are not as talented as they are make out to be. Then that will be a different story. And we should actually sack all of them. Why pay them market salary if they are unable to compete with the best in the market?