The Federal Government has so far spent N409, 915,331,675.45 on the
payment of severance benefits to ex-workers and death benefits of the
defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the Bureau of Public
Enterprises (BPE) has said.
In a statement signed by the Bureau’s Head of Public Communications,
Mrs. Amina Othman Tukur, she said the payment streams were categorized
into two: Severance payments to the former active staff of PHCN and
payment of PHCN Retirees/Death benefits which PHCN could not pay before
it handed over to the successor companies.
According to the statement, for active, the total number submitted to
the BPE by PHCN was 47, 913 and out of the number, 47,275 representing
99 percent have been fully paid. These were forwarded to the Office of
the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) for payment in 36
BPE said out 638 outstanding active staff, there are: 167 duplicate and
blank spaces on the list, 414 never turned up for verification, 25 have
been audited and are awaiting cash-backing, 9 with initial documentation
problems will soon be audited; and 23 have documentation problems.
The statement notes that in the course of the verification, 81 cases
were found to be short-paid which have been corrected and cash-backed
while 180 cases recently treated and recomputed for short–payment are
awaiting cash backing.
The Statement further said “4,438 PHCN Retirees/NOKs have been submitted
to BPE in eight batches and to date, 3,131 representing, 71 percent of
the beneficiaries have been fully paid their entitlements with 1,307 yet
to be paid.
“This is as a result of 15 of them having an error in serial numbering,
66 possible duplicates in submissions which 14 of them have been
recently audited; and 196 have been cleared and are awaiting
cash-backing, 392 cleared and sent to the Pension Transitional
Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) for pension-related benefits and 694 to
the Presidential Initiative for Continuous Auditing (PICA) for
Gratuities and Deceased Benefits.”
On the two (2) percent Union deductions, the Bureau said a total of
N7,485,291,722.89 has already been paid to the defunct PHCN Unions
account from batches 1-36 while the Bureau has already written to the
Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to credit the Unions’ Account
for the remaining deductions.
On the ten (10) percent equity shareholding for the staff of the defunct
utility company, the Bureau explained that in accordance with the
privatisation policy, workers of enterprises that are slated for
privatisation are entitled to be allotted some percentage of the
outstanding shares of the company which in the case of the PHCN, the
Bureau reserved 10 percent of the balance of 40 percent (4 percent) for
workers of the successor companies.
The Ten (10) percent shares due to workers of the Power Companies would
be allotted to them after the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission
(NERC) completes its assignment on the valuation of the investments done
by the state in the distribution companies. The valuation would form the
basis on which shares will be allotted to each state government.
Regarding the non-computation of 16 months’ entitlements of staff of the
defunct PHCN, the Bureau said that during one of the engagements with
the unions on January 13, 2014, at the Federal Ministry of Power, it was
agreed that “7.5 percent employer pension contribution of July 2012 to
31st October 2013 will be paid by the Federal Government (Market
Operator)”. Though the decision had been communicated to the Market
Operator, the Unions suggested that BPE should escalate the matter to
the Vice President and the Chairman of the National Council on
Privatisation (NCP) for consideration and resolution. Papers to the NCP
on the matter are being completed.
On the post-retirement training of the former PHCN staff, BPE said there
was a decision to conduct a post-retirement training for them but that
the lack of cohesion among the agencies that had the responsibility to
organize the training has caused the non-implementation. It added that
as a result of this, funding for the assignment is now in jeopardy.
BPE said some of the ex-workers and pensioners/NOKs are having
difficulties to access their entitlements since 2013 when their payments
were cash-backed due to invalid account details such as:
a) Non-nuban account numbers
b) Wrong account names/numbers
c) Wrong Bank names.
For the pensioners/NOKs, it is invalid RSA details such as:
a) Wrong RSA Account names
d) Wrong RSA Pins
e) Wrong account RSA
f) Multiple RSA accounts
g) Failed payments attempted once by officials of the Various paying
h) Bank Account Detail Dormancy.
The Bureau and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) are working to
resolve the problem.