FG okays N400bn for PHCN retirees, others

Professor Chinedu Nebo05 August 2013, Abuja – The Federal Government has approved N16 billion for the payment of the entitlements of retirees and pensioners of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, in preparation for the privatisation of the power sector.

This is in addition to the N384 billion earlier okayed as severance package for employees of the power firm before it is privatised.

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who disclosed this in a statement, directed the power distribution firms to resolve the improper billing and metering of electricity consumers.

He said at the end of the privatisation, Nigerians will heave a sigh of relief as generator importers will soon be pushed out of business.

The statement said: “The minister has directed the commencement of the payment of severance package to PHCN staff, on which about N384 billion is going to be expended with additional N16 billion to pay other retirees and pensioners of the company.

“Nebo directed that all issues surrounding metering and unfair billing should be resolved immediately without any Nigerian being short-changed.”

Nebo said the neglect of the sector was as a result of the wrong notion that classified power as a social welfare service.

He observed that it was only in 1999, when Nigeria returned to democracy, that the neglect of the sector was addressed.

Citing an instance, the minister said for 17 years, no engineer was hired in the power sector, stressing that this huge gap in human capacity required to run the sector was being bridged with the ongoing recruitment of young Nigerian engineers.

Nebo said the country generates over 4,000 megawatts of electricity, adding that before this administration, the country was producing just over 2,000MW.
“From 2,000MW in 2010 to 4,500MW, is this not an achievement?” he asked.

The minister, however, stated that all hands must be on deck to improve power generation as the 4,000MW was unacceptable considering the nation’s population and potential.

Nebo further explained that the government was committed to diversifying the energy generation capacity to include renewable sources, such as wind, solar, coal, biomass and hydro.

On the previously moribund Rural Electrification Agency, he said the administration had revived it and made it to be more effective in the provision of electricity off grid to rural dwellers.

He assured that the revolution in the telecoms sector would be a child’s play when compared with what was about to happen in the sector, stressing that huge investments were expected from the privatisation when is completed.

– The Nation

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