Chigbo-Anichebe-360x225The Federal Government has paid all the 40,696 verified staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Dikki, has said.

He said the payments were made in accordance with the October 31 agreement reached between the workers and the Federal Government, “that the issue of all severance benefits should be completed by (today) Friday, 15th November, 2013.”

Dikki, insisted that the workers have  received their severance benefits, explaining that their retirement component has been credited to their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA).

He said: “We have paid every PHCN staff who has gone through a  verification process, who has been authenticated to be a bonafide PHCN staff, we have done a biometric capture of them.

“They are about 40,696 who have been so verified and we have paid them both the severance package and the retirement component that goes into the retirement savings accounts. All those have been done,” he stressed.

The BPE boss however admitted that there were issues in the Enugu Distribution Company whose workers’ data was corrupted, but is now rectified for remittance of benefits to their accounts in the next few days, adding that there are 2500 casual workers, whose status and documents government is still authenticating.

He said: “Those we have verified, the agreement was that casual workers will be made permanent and pensionable, and all those who have authentic papers, we have regularised their employment and paid them.”

Dikki said that the 2500 are the ones that BPE has not verified, stressing that BPE is waiting for the successor companies that engaged them to bring the necessary documents for authentication and payment.

While commenting on the issue, the National President, National Association of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Comrade Mansur Musa, said that government has stopped payment, arguing that government has not fulfilled its own part of the pact. He urged the authority to conclude the workers’payment so as to put all the labour matters regarding the privatisation of PHCN to rest.

His words: “So far the government has been paying and what we noticed is that the payment has stopped. And they have promised to complete payment by tomorrow and also some aspect of it by the end of this month.

“ We are not comfortable with the way payments are going and we have already sent our representation to government. We are asking them to honour our own agreement, if they wouldn’t want us to have issues with them. They have to stick to our agreement so that we can conclude on this labour issue.”

Meanwhile, the Federal, states, and local governments, which are the shareholders of the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), have asked the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) to reinvest the proceeds from the sales of the 10 power plants in the power sector.

The Managing Director, (NDPHC), Mr. James Olutu said: “We are already on the verge of privatising the power generation plants that we are building. What we will be able to get from this privatisation, our shareholders- the three tiers of government have approved that the money be reinvested on power.”

He said the NDPHC is developing about 10 power plants in hydro that require cooperation with the Ministry of Power, Water Resources and other relevant agencies to ensure that there is over 6000 Mega Watts from hydro.

He said the company would earmark $1.8billion for electricity transmission in view of the 16,000 mega watts projection.


[The Nation]