22 January 2015, Lagos – The Federal Government on Wednesday said it had validated and would pay 1,669 former employees of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria their severance packages next week.
Some of the workers had on Monday staged a protest at the headquarters of the defunct power company in Abuja and alleged that the government had not paid the severance benefits of about 8,000 employees of the firm 14 months after the successor companies of PHCN were sold to private investors.
Reacting to the protest, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said with the privatisation of the generation and distribution companies, 47,000 disengaged workers of the defunct PHCN were on the list of persons to be paid by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
He said the government’s record showed that 45,000 persons had been paid, with another 1,669 cleared, thus remaining less than 1,000 workers who had not been verified.
Nebo, who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Prof. Chidi Onyia, stated that those who had been cleared would be paid at nine designated centres across the country.
He noted that the number of those who should have been paid from next week was about 2,400, but explained that only 1,669 had been validated.
The minister, in a statement, stated that the BPE’s Implementation Committee on Payment of PHCN Terminal Benefits was set to release a timetable for the payment of the severance benefits.
Nebo said the committee, which also has representations from the ministry and from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, had handled all issues pertaining to the workers’ verification and had drawn up a check-list for all beneficiaries to bring to the various designated centres.
According to him, President Goodluck Jonathan has directed the handlers of workers’ severance package to be diligent in the validation processes as the government does not want to pay ‘ghost workers’.
He said that so far, N372bn had been paid to the disengaged PHCN workers, and debunked the assertion that the Federal Government had remained insensitive to the plight of the employees.
– The Punch