BPE blames Finance Minister for inability to pay N1.8b severance benefits

Alex A. Okoh, Director General of BPE

Alex A. Okoh, Director General of BPE

By Oladele Eniola

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said He also said all entreaties to Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, to ensure the release of the funds to paying N1.8 billion severance packages to the ex-staff of the Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) has proved abortive.

The Bureau’s Director for Post Transaction Management, Mr Tajudeen Oduniyi, made this known in a letter with reference number: BPE/PTM/NUATE/11/2022/M10.01 in Lagos on Sunday.

Oduniyi also said that its contribution to the TSA stopped it from fulfilling the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached with the former workers in 2018.

He also said all entreaties to Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, to ensure the release of the funds proved abortive.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Federal Government in 2015 through its policy had compelled all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to contribute 25 per cent of their revenues to the TSA.

The government had in the middle of this month, gone ahead to increase the contribution to 40 per cent, thereby adding more burdens to the MDAs.

The official said BPE reached agreement with the former 982 staff of SAHCOL on Nov. 2, 2018, after which it inaugurate a negotiation committee to ensure the implementation of the MoU.

He said the organisation has written to the finance minister for fund to settle the retrenched workers but is still awaiting a reply.

“In the light of the foregoing, it has become expedient to update you on our modest efforts to bridge communication gap from the MOU we signed with you on November 2, 2018.

Related News

“This is in addition to our Director-General‘s willingness to offer to pay the redundancy as opposed to the stand of the Chairman of SAHCOL.

“Also recall that at the inception of this administration in 2015, all funds of government agencies and MDAs were swept into the Treasury Single Account (TSA), thus disabling us financially. Given this scenario, our only option was to write to the Minister of Finance for funds to settle you, which we did via our memo on May 19, 2022,” he said.

Oduniyi said it had employed several persons to assist on the issue, noting that a visit was paid to a director with the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation on Friday.

He appealed to the workers to show understanding until the issue is resolved.

However, there are strong indications that the workers who had been sacked since 2010 by the new owners of SAHCOL (now Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO Plc), may cause industrial unrest in the sector.

A former workers who pleaded anonymity, told newsmen in Lagos that its members have been mobilised through unions to organise a protest in the sector in November.

“We have waited enough as we were laid off since 2010, so steps have being taken to ensure that we were paid as agreed, but unfortunately, we are yet to be paid.

“The BPE in 2018, after agreeing that we were entitled to the several packages, promised to pay us, but four years after this, we are yet to get anything from the bureau.

“They are even asking us to assist them in getting the money out of the Ministry of Finance. How can we do that when we are not the government?” the source said. (NAN)

Load more