Severance package: Govt commences payment of PHCN workers

By The Citizen

The Federal Government has commenced the payment of the severance packages of employees of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria in preparation for the conclusion of the privatisation of the power sector.

The General Secretary, Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, Mr. Abiodun Ogunsegha, said although the Federal Government had not officially told the union leaders that it had commenced payment, some employees in the sector had started receiving bank alerts.

According to him, the government is supposed to brief officials of the unions once it commences payment, stressing that the technical committee set up by the workers and the government has not officially announced the commencement of payment.

Ogunsegha said, 'Workers in some PHCN outfits have said that they have started receiving alerts, but I cannot confirm that for now. This is because we have yet to meet with the Ministry of Power on this issue.

'The technical committee set up to look into the issue of payment has not been briefed by the government on whether it (government) has started making payment. So, I cannot categorically tell you that payment has started and the amount that has been paid despite claims by some workers that they have started receiving bank alerts.'

However, it was gathered on Tuesday that the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation had commenced paying off some workers of the power firm.

It was also learnt that some workers of the power generating companies, which were carved out of the PHCN, had received alerts from their banks that their entitlements had been paid.

The payment, it was gathered, would be done in batches.

The Chairman, Implementation Committee on the settlement of the PHCN staff terminal benefits, Mr. Godswill Igali, said the initial batch of 3,938 names of staff comprising those from generation companies (GENCOs) and PHCN headquarters had been forwarded to the OAGF for payment, which was to the tune of N34.585 billion.

Also, on August 5, yet another 16,366 members of staff of distribution companies (DISCOs) were cleared by the auditors and were ready for onward transmission to the OAGF for payments valued at about N84.5 billion. He said so far, 20,304 staff had been cleared for payment. He said: “Hopefully, more staff will be cleared by the auditors before the end of this week as it is a continuous process.' However, the disbursements was expected to address some of the labour issues that had constituted  bottlenecks to the smooth privatisation of the PHCN successor companies.