24 September 2013, Abuja – The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has yet to receive the severance package of workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, investigations have revealed.
The National Council on Privatisation chaired by Vice-President Namadi Sambo had on Friday ordered the OAGF to ensure that the workers were settled this week.
Similarly, the Bureau of Public Enterprises had at a meeting with the core investors in the PHCN successor companies assured them that the OAGF had received all the money required and would begin the payment on Monday (yesterday).
Investigations by our correspondents, however, showed that the payment neither began as scheduled on Monday nor had the AGF’s office received the money.
A source close to the OAGF confirmed that that the money was supposed to be sourced from what accrued to the Federal Government from the sale of the successor companies, but added that the BPE had yet to remit the money.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “The payment hasn’t been done because we relied on an agency of the government to remit the money to us before we send it to the government, but as we speak now, the money hasn’t been remitted.
“There are processes to be followed before that can be done. I am sure that before the week runs out, we should be able to get the money to enable us pay the PHCN workers.”
The settlement of the PHCN workers is one of the issues that have stood between the core investors and the takeover of the successor companies as the core investors have insisted on settlement of labour liabilities before the handover now scheduled to take place on October 1.
The Chairman, Electricity Distribution Roundtable, Dr. Ransome Owan, had confirmed the demand by the core investors and the assurance by government in an interview with our correspondent last week.
He had said, “The government has continued to be sympathetic to the needs of the buyers in that they also have some constraints they have to work with. Some of it has to do with how they sequence the payment to the employees in terms of their severance packages and contributions to their retirement accounts.
“They assured us that all the money needed is now with the Accountant-General of the Federation and the money will soon be released. The remaining money is going to be released to be handed over to the employees. We hope they can clear the issue of staff payment. They have given us the assurances.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Transmission Company of Nigeria, Mr. Haman Tukur, has called on board members to work diligently to realise the Federal Government’s mandate with regards to quality and stable power supply to the people.
Tukur gave the charge in his opening address during the maiden meeting of the TCN Board, according to a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Monday by the Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, TCN, Mr. Dave Ifabiyi.
– The Punch