The Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has a staggering liability of N392,722 billion.
This was disclosed in Abuja Tuesday by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited/GTE (NELMCO), Dr. Samuel Agbogun.
While PHCN has been unbundled by the Federal Government, NELMCO was set up to manage its stranded assests and liabilities.
Agbogun told journalists that the liabilities were continually growing due to the cost of gas, stating that his team had put in place a clear strategy to deal with the liabilities that would arise from the privatisation of PHCN.
He described NELMCO as a Special Purpose Vehicle created by the Federal Government into which it domiciled the huge PHCN liabilities that cannot be settled from the expected proceeds of the sale of the various assets of the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA).
According to him, the organisation is also charged with the management of pension liabilities of PHCN employees, and will hold the non-core assets of PHCN with a view to selling them off “or deal in any manner for the purpose of financing the payment of debts of other related matters.”
Agbogun revealed that the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) indebtedness ranks highest of the PHCN debt profile, standing at well over N149.538 billion.
He said a strategy for handling the various segments of the liabilities has been developed and that a due diligence of sundry creditors will be undertaken to determine the veracity of the claims.
On the two most challenging segments of the indebtedness - PPA and employees’ pensions - the NELMCO boss said his administration will carefully study the agreements, negotiate with the power producers and then effect instalmental settlement.
On the workers’ pension, Agbogun said the short term strategy was to take over the payment of the monthly pension which it commenced in August with the payment of about N762 million.
According to him, N12 billion has been captured in this year’s budget for the purpose and that all PHCN pensioners would henceforth have their monthly pensions remitted to their accounts promptly.
NELMCO secured a N17 billion appropriation in this year’s Federal Government budget.
The MD added that the over 140 pension pay-points across the country will be centralised in Abuja, to make it more transparent, especially since the Biometric Data Capturing exercise would now be concluded in collaboration with the workers’ union.
In addition, he said the company will negotiate with the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) with a view to migrating the PHCN pensioners to either a Closed Pension Fund Administrator or the Head of Service Pension for which the Federal Government provides funding.
He said 2.2 million pounds (about N567 million) PHCN pension fund found in an account in Barclays Bank in the United Kingdom, and another N2 billion found in a Nigerian bank account will be drawn down for the purposes they were meant for.
An investigative panel set up in July to probe missing PHCN pension funds discovered the 2.2 million pounds stashed in an account in a London bank and another N2 billion sitting in a Nigerian bank account.
Caption: Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi
Amaechi Promises to Safeguard Bridges
Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has assured the people of the state of speedy and permanent solution to the Airforce Bridge whose retaining wall partly caved in and collapsed in Port Harcourt on Sunday night after a heavy downpour.
Amaechi stated this yesterday during an unscheduled inspection to the bridge where a section of its retaining wall collapsed.
The Airforce bridge was constructed in 2006 by the Governor Peter Odili administration.
Amaechi said: “The bridge itself did not collapsed, what collapsed is the retaining wall. Government was still negotiating and going through due process to ensure that we get the right price for the reconstruction of the flyover. Obviously, the last contractor didn’t do a very good work and there was a need to rebuild the embankment to the bridge and redirect the traffic.”
Amaechi also said talks were on with RCC Construction to take over the reconstruction to rebuild the bridge.
Speaking on other road projects in the state, the governor dispelled rumours that roads built by his administration are not durable, noting that the complains about Choba/Rumuokwuta road is because the road has not been completed.
According to him, “The problem with Choba Road is that first, it has not been completed, it is still at binder course. Secondly, is that we have not directed away the water from the drain so you have a crisis where water is affecting the structure of the road.”
He assured the people that all that will be sorted out on completion of the road.