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By NBF News
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The Minister for Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji has assured that as the Federal Government has concluded plans to unbundle the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), there will be no single job loss. Nnaji gave the assurance yesterday in Abuja when he was a guest at the Pilot Newspaper Leadership Forum, and also said four new power plants to be commissioned before the end of the third quarter of the year will bring on board more 1000 megawatts of power.

The minister also said power generation in the nation would have got a boost with the four new power plants expected.

While answering question at the interactive, he outlined the plans the government has in place to ensure that the sector, which is the hub of the economy, gets real improvement before the end of the year.

He promised Nigerians that rather than cause job loss, the unbundling and privatisation would help to create more jobs because the sector would be expanded and be more efficient.

'I have always felt surprised by the argument of PHCN workers and the labour unions that we are planning to take then out of job. The plan is instead the opposite. They argued that government would pay them terminal benefits before they accept the new plan, but I can't make sense of that. You pay such only when you severe appointment.

'We are not planning to terminate anybody's appointment, so why should the government pay any PHCN worker severance allowance. What we want is to create more jobs. And we shall not forget that the government owns PHCN, and the same government shall operate or supervise the operation of the upcoming power plants.'

There is no time we would manufacture workers with experience in the sector from any factory, neither are we going to employ hands from outside the nation. These same people will still be absorbed in the new places, and through the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that is to monitor compliance, the workers will be re-integrated and more employed because it is going to be an enlarged sector.

'That condition or term of the operation of the new policy is very clear that the workers will be absorbed by the new outfits.

'But the argument the workers don't want to hear is that we insist that at the PHCN headquarters, there are so many who from day to day just sit down in the office, add no value, do no work, but get paid. That is wasteful, and it is not done anywhere else in the world. We want to put a stop to that waste. So at the new places we plan to bring on board, definitely the incompetent worker must fall by the way side because no employer wants a worker who adds no value. The productive and good hands will even have choices on the job to take because there would be many.'

With the expected boost in the power plants launch, he said that would have brought the power generation capacity of the nation to 6,000 megawatts, a capacity he assured would assure more stability to power supply and a great reduction in outages.

He also told Nigerians that the new energy tariff would still take care of the poorer citizens, as it would be stratified according to the economic level of consumers. He noted that government even in the present budget had set aside N60 billion to subsidize the cost of power for the poor citizens.