22 July 2014, Abuja – Former workers of defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, have again alleged irregularities in computation and payment of severance benefits, insisting that the the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, is guilty of mismanaging extant processes of settling their entitlements.
The workers, in a protest letter, accused the privatisation agency and other relevant agencies of government involved in the verification and settlement of disengagement entitlements of the workers of failing to rectify complaints raised by them (PHCN workers) in relation to their retirement benefits.
They also accused the BPE and other agencies of mischievously committing avoidable errors in the calculation of their entitlements as well as willfully delaying the process of making corrections that could guarantee timely payment of their entitlements.
According to them, some officials of the BPE and office of the Accountant General of the Federation resorted to delaying remediation process that would verify their respective employment histories.
For instance, one of them, Udom Frank said not only that his account number was wrongly quoted, his employment history was also underquoted, thus, shortchanging him of the total severance benefits that was due to him.
Frank explained that he lodged a complaint to the verification panel set up to hamonise such errors, but nothing has been done about it so far.
He said: “My complaints border in the fact that I was employed into NEPA in August 1987 but my terminal benefits were computed for the year 1997.
I was cajoled into signing the yellow and white copies of the terminal form with the hope that corrections will be effected but as at today, no corrections have been made and this is after several invitations by the verification panel.”
Furthermore he said: “My account number was altered by some unscrupulous elements in a way to defraud me; they succeeded in altering my account number and the errors are still there even after inviting me to NICON Luxury Hotel for more than 10 times to rectify the errors.”
Frank also picked holes in a recent statement from the BPE that as much as 46,308 workers, out of a total of 47,913 former workers of PHCN have been paid their terminal benefits. He explained that about 8,625 workers are still caught up in such extant errors from the BPE.
“Most pensioners have not been paid the pension components of their benefits, we are certain that these people have placed monies meant for settlement of our benefits in fixed deposit accounts for their selfish benefits,” he added.
Irrespective of the claims, the Director General of the BPE, Benjamin Dikki had overtime stated that the agency has been transparent in its management of the PHCN severance package. Dikki said at the inaugural lecture series of the Just Friends Club of Nigeria (JFCN) in Abuja that few of the workers with unresolved issues were being attended to with the hope of resolving all their concerns.
– This Day