27 January 2014, Lagos – The Federal Government announced last week in Abuja that it has concluded arrangements for the payment of severance package to another batch of 1,669 staff retirees and Next of Kin of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
The Implementation Committee on Payment of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, terminal benefits of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, has released the time-table for the payments of severance benefits in nine Centres across the country.
The Chief of Staff to the Minister of Power, Prof.Chidi Onyia, who made this known while reacting to the threat to public property by aggrieved union members and ex-workers of PHCN, last week in Abuja, said the beneficiaries, would be paid between January26 and February 6, 2015.
He said that “Record shows that 45,000 persons have been paid, with another 1,669 beneficiaries cleared, thus remaining less than 1,000 workers who are yet to be verified, they would be paid at 9 designated centres across the country beginning from 26th January – 6th February, 2015.”
Onyia recalled that, “With the privatisation of the Generation and Distribution sub-sectors, a total of 47,000 disengaged workers of the defunct PHCN are on the list of persons to be paid by the BPE.”
According to him, Nigerians deserved to have adequate information in order to have informed position of the issues involved.
Onyia said the Committee, which also have representations from the Ministry and Office of the Accountant General, has diligently handled all issues pertaining to the verification and drawn up a check-list for beneficiaries to bring to the various designated centres for them to be paid.
He said Mr. President has demonstrated a clear understanding of the nation’s labour law, which informed his directive to the handlers of theseverance package to be diligent in the validation processes, adding that Government does not want to pay ghost workers but only the right people.
He said so far, a whopping N372 billion has already been paid out to disengaged PHCN workers, stressing that Government has always treated its workers with utmost dignity and respect. Furthermore, he debunked the assertion that Government has remained insensitive to the plight of the disengaged PHCN workers, saying that the Minister has directed that all issues pertaining to this be resolved on time.
He said this action has nothing to do with the forthcoming general elections, just as he reiterated that the Minister of Power is desirous of building harmonious labour relationship for the entire power sector, assuring that the core or residual staff in the sector would be paid as at when due.