N342.8b ready for 40,093 PHCN workers' severance pay
All is set for the payment of severance packages to 40,093 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) workers. Their names have been sent to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) for payment, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has said.
The BPE, in a statement by its spokesman Chigbo Anichebe, said the action was line with the government's commitment to settling the workers' outstanding payment and ensuring the smooth take off of the PHCN's successor companies.
It said N342.8billion had been released to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for the payment.
Speaking at a forum in Abuja, BPE's Director-General Benjamin Ezra Dikki said the figure represented payment to 84 per cent of the entire workforce of the former state-owned electricity giant.
Dikki, who was represented by the BPE's Project Manager (PM), Electric Power Department, Mr. Amaechi Aloke, said of the six batches, the OAGF had confirmed the payment of three, totalling 26,899 persons.
He said OAGF promised that two more batches (4 and 5) covering 11,716 workers would be paid their entitlements next week.
On union dues, the DG said that the OAGF had confirmed the remittance of N3bn to the two PHCN unions-the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, (SSAEAC) and National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), deducted from the PHCN workers' benefits.
Interest groups, such as the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), the Senior Staff Association of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, among others, have protested against the late payment of the severance package of PHCN workers.
They threatened to scuttle PHCN's privatisation, if the government failed to address the problem. To avert crisis, the government decided to settle the workers' outstanding ahead of January 2014 when the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) will take off.