14 August 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – As a way of resolving the current crisis between the Nigeria’s electricity workers and the government, Power Minister, Prof. Barth Nnaji has sought the intervention of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, in a public scrutiny of the of the issues surrounding the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, pension scheme.
The minister has, in this regard, reportedly reached out, among others, to Pastor Tunde Bakare’s Save Nigeria Group, Concerned Professionals, led by Prof. Pat Utomi and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, headed by Comrade Ibrahim Awaal Rafsanjani.
According to Nnaji, the move has become necessary in view of the “the huge amount of money, which should be in the scheme, but cannot be traced.”
Maintaining that if the PHCN’s 50,000 employees had, over the years, been contributing 25 per cent of their salaries to the pension scheme as alleged by the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, they should have over N300 billion in their bank account, the minister disclosed that what was found in the account was “a paltry N3 billion, which cannot cover the terminal benefits of up to 30 per cent of the workforce.”
This amount, he said, came from PHCN internally generated revenue, rather than as contribution from the PHCN staff towards their retirements.
“It is clear from the reports I have, that it is either the PHCN staff did not contribute 25 per cent of their salaries or that some unscrupulous officials made away with over N300 billion, which was over the years deducted from their pay,” the minister said.