24 November 2011, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The National Assembly has asked the Ministry of Power to ensure that the outcome of the Biometric Data capturing of staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, are made public and those found to have been milking the system through ghost worker syndrome severely punished.
Also to be made public “must be the number of ghost workers, who had been collecting their salaries all these years and how much they had defrauded the system.”
The House Committee on Power led by its Chairman, Hon. Patrick Ikhariele, who paid a working visit to the Ministry of Power in Abuja, insisted that “laws are not necessary if they are not to be obeyed.”
“The National Assembly must fish out all those implicated in the possible fraud that complicated the national ambition to provide electricity to the country,” the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Ikhariele insisted.
It must be recalled that members of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, had opposed the biometric data capturing system introduced by the government, and threatened industrial action if the measure was carried out.
The House Committee Chairman emphasized that their visit was prompted by their desire to be co-drivers in facing the electricity challenge together and promised that lawmakers are desirous of giving the needed support both in terms of budget and oversight responsibilities.
In response to the committee members’ questions, the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Darius Ishaku assured that government has resolved that the controversial tariff regime would be in phases in order to lessen the burden on consumers, especially the less privileged cadre of the society.
The Minister of State for Power also assured the legislators that the outcome of the biometric data verification would be made public.
He noted the critical position of power in the realization of the present Administration’s Transformation Agenda, stressing that the Ministry was poised to confronting it headlong through ensuring that ailing plants were fixed and ongoing hydropower stations rehabilitated.
The Minister assured that to avoid the mistakes of the past, the Ministry was making sure that appropriate maintenance works are carried out before final privatization.
Arc. Ishaku maintained that these steps were necessary as no investor would be committed in a venture without the prospects of recouping his investments.
He implored the National Assembly to assist the Ministry so as to collectively meet the aspirations of both the people and the government adding that privatization means creating jobs, and stability to the polity.