By Ndubuisi Francis in Abja
The federal government has commenced the payment of entitlements to 408 active staff and retirees/ next of kin (NoK) of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) who have been computed and audited by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).
In a statement issued by its Head, Public Communications, Amina Tukur Othman, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), which put the entitlements at N1,053,402,476.03, said its Director General, Mr. Alex A. Okoh, expressed delight that following the approval of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) chaired by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, the implementation is leading to the resolution of “this outstanding labour issue in the power sector privatisation”.
According to him, the current milestone in the resolution and settlement of the outstanding labour liabilities became possible after the Bureau on March 27, 2018, constituted a Technical Working Group (TWG) comprising the OAGF, PENCOM, NELMCO, National Union of Electricity Workers (NUEE), and SSAEAC & NUP which worked assiduously culminating in a meeting between him and the OAGF on August 1, 2018 to finalise the payment process.
Before now, the BPE, through the OAGF, had paid 47,041 out of the 47,913 active staff of the defunct PHCN in 35 batches and 2,962 out of the 4,423 retirement and death benefits to the beneficiaries in 14 batches.
This was in line with the mandate of the BPE to ensure that labour issues in privatisation are adequately addressed and resolved.
However, given the fact that not all the active staff and retirees/NOKs of the defunct PHCN were verified, the NCP, at its meeting of April 16, 2015, directed the BPE to continue with the process of verification and payment of outstanding cases until a final resolution was achieved.
Following the NCP directive and approval, the Bureau conducted the final verification for staff and retirees/NoKs of the defunct PHCN in the six geo-political centres between October 3 and 14, 2016, resulting in the 408 beneficiaries who are now being paid.