Employees of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria have vowed to resist the takeover of the electricity distribution and generation companies by the successful buyers until all outstanding payments are made.
The workers’ position contradicts the recent pronouncement by the Federal Government that the successful bidders who met the deadline for the payment of the 75 per cent balance of their bid prices could now take over the companies.
Our correspondent gathered that the Federal Government had not cleared the workers’ pensions as captured in the agreement between both parties, but it went ahead to announce that all was set for the private investors to take over.
The General Secretary, Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, an umbrella body for the PHCN workers, Mr. Abiodun Ogunsegha, said on Sunday that the government was wrong to have stated that the power firms would be handed over to investors.
He said, “No company can take over until payments are concluded. Yes, the government has paid some workers, but it has not concluded the payment.
“The payment is ongoing. The understanding we have is that payment has to be concluded; but this has not happened.
“What they are paying is the severance and gratuity part of the agreement. They have not paid the pension. But they are promising that they will pay all. Until that is done, it will be wrong to say you are handing over the companies to private investors.”
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, had said in a statement that the government had recorded substantial compliance with the payment terms by the preferred bidders and stressed that the investors could begin to take over the electricity companies.
“The completion of payment now entitles the preferred bidders to take full possession of the 15 PHCN unbundled entities, which include 10 distribution companies and five generation companies,” Nebo said.
Information from Punch was used in this report.