$2billion spent to pay workers of defunct PHCN

Workers protest at  PHCN headquarters

File photo of Workers protesting at the old PHCN office

Nigeria’s Federal Government on Tuesday said it had spent more than N360 billion on the payment of severance benefits to workers of the Power Holding company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Mr Benjamin Dikki said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He said the payment was in accordance with the agreement to settle the severance benefits to the affected workers.

Dikki said that at the beginning of the privatisation process, the budgeted cost for the settlement of labour liabilities in the sector was put at N401 billion.

“The BPE contributes N315.6 billion from the sale of PHCN asset, while the federal government provides N45 billion to bring the amount so far remitted to more than N360 billion.

“It would be recalled that the Federal government had demonstrated great commitment in resolving labour issues in the power sector reform and privatisation.

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“ From the beginning, it had committed the entire proceeds realised from the sales of the power assets to the payment of the worker’s terminal benefits.

“ The N360 billion so far spent was forwarded to the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to settle 51,247 PHCN Staff, both active and retired,’’ he said.

Dikki also said that of the 51,247 workers, 47,913 were active staff, and 3,334 were retired staff of the company.
The Director-General said 2,158 staff, comprising casual workers and those nor properly documented, were yet to be settled.

“ The reason is that some were not initially captured when we were taking into account all the workers, while at the same time, some deliberately refused to fill the forms provided.

“ So, those remaining have issues. We don’t have sufficient records on them, so, we cannot prove if they are bonafide staff or not.
“So, until we conclude verifying their authenticity, we cannot just hand out funds to anyone,’’ he said.

The Director-General urged the affected staff to exercise patience as the bureau was working to rectify the issues as soon as possible.

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