We’ve paid 70% of PHCN workers – FG

Ambassador Godknows Igali29 August 2013, Abuja – The Federal Government on Wednesday said it had paid the severance benefits of over 70 per cent of the workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria as it worked towards concluding the privatisation of the power sector.

It stated that it would conclude the payment before the end of next week.

The government also announced the commencement of the official registration of all market participants in the power sector that had been licensed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

It also said that the Transmission Company of Nigeria had been given the right to operate independently but under the supervision of the Ministry of Power.

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said this at a seminar organised by the TCN for the electricity market participants.

“As of today, we have paid off the benefits of at least 70 per cent of the workers. And as we finish the severance payment this week or next week, the next part will be the pension for the workers,” he said.

Nebo was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Mr. Godknows Igali, who doubles as the chairman of the implementation committee for labour related issues in the power sector.

Early this month, the Federal Government began the payment of the severance packages of the PHCN employees, with the workers in power generating companies, and promised to settle those of the distribution firms before the end of August.

Nebo said the reorganisation of the board of TCN was in order to ensure transparency in its operations and to allow it to work independently without a hitch.

Turning to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, TCN, Mr. Don Priestman, the minister said, “We have introduced some board members to help you operate more independently, and from now on, we want you to see yourself as an independent company.

“We will be seeing less of you once the board is inaugurated later today (Wednesday), and this is to allow you to deliver efficiently as you work on the nation’s transmission infrastructure.”

Last week, the Federal Government announced the reconstitution of the board of the transmission company.

The minister also said the payment of the 75 per cent balance of the bid prices for the electricity generation and distribution companies by the preferred bidders last week showed that the Federal Government was succeeding in its drive to privatise the sector despite criticisms.

He said, “There were a lot of criticisms and pessimism as to whether the power road map will work. Many people said the investors would not pay for the Gencos and the Discos considering the rot in the system, but as of last week, all of the successful bidders have paid up.”

– Okechukwu Nnodim, The Punch

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