The Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Dikki, Wednesday said the federal government had spent about N609.3 billion between 2000 and 2013 in settlement of labour liabilities in the privatised public enterprises.
He said the settlement of labour liabilities in the power sector alone gulped about N384.062 billion, representing 63 per cent of the entire N609.3 billion disbursement.
A further breakdown showed that labour resolution in the telecommunications sector, particularly the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its mobile arm, M-tel gulped about N126.7 billion.
Dikki added that the federal government had further spent about N67. 7 billion in the settlement of labour liabilities in the transport and aviation sector with bulk of it spent on the settlement of liabilities of the workers of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
He said the steel sector also consumed about N10.7 billion in settlement of labour liabilities while issues in the agro-allied sector gulped about N8.9 billion.
The BPE boss made the disclosure in Abuja after a meeting with the Energy Working Group of the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission.
Further rundown of the expenses showed the insurance sectors with N4.7 billion; sugar companies consumed N3,527,095,184.00; paper mills, N417,447,000.00; hospitality industry N1,262,708,633.60; cement companies N636,324,705.00; media enterprises, N505,874,001.23; and petrochemicals N106,615,529.87.
In a statement signed by BPE spokesman, Chigbo Anichebe, Dikki noted that government had shown tremendous goodwill and commitment to resolving all the labour issues in the power transaction, adding that it was the only singular transaction that all the proceeds realised from the sale of power assets were committed to settling labour liabilities.
He said: “Payment of all the workers entitlements is ongoing and money set aside to pay all those that have been duly cleared.”
The federal government had demonstrated great commitment in resolving labour issues in the power sector reform and privatisation.
Apart from committing the entire proceeds realised from the sale of power assets to the payment of the workers’ terminal benefits, government had at the initial stage of the transaction, released N57 billion to take care of the workers pension, which came after the government had increased the workers’ salary by 50 per cent and regularised some of the casual workers.
Information from This Day was used in this report.