Privatisation: PHCN Staff to receive N38m as retirement benefits

ABUJA-As the power sector reforms gathers momentum, the federal government has announced that executives of the power utility company will earn as much as N38 million each as retirement benefits after privatizing the 17 unbundled PHCN companies.
 According to a report made available to Biztellers the management of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) distributed letters to each PHCN staff member advising him or her on the retirement benefits, in view of the impending privatization of 17 out of the 18 PHCN successor companies.
The letters, were reported to have been personally signed by the PHCN Managing Director/Chief Executive, Engr Hussein Labo, stipulates the pension and gratuity, amongst other benefits of every employee.
The workers were meant to study the contents of every form and look out for critical issues like possible computational errors and then return them not later than August 10, 2012, with appropriate remarks to the PHCN management.

PHCN HEADQUATERS

The statement reads in part that a look at the computations shows that some PHCN executives will earn as much as N38 million each as retirement benefit, on account of the generous offers which the Government has made to the PHCN staff in recent months.

 “It is important to note that the entire severance benefit, calculated at N80billion, will come from the government treasury. This is because the PHCN management did not comply with the Pension Reform Act which came into force on July 1, 2004, and which requires every worker to contribute 7.5% of the basic salary towards pension and the employer another 7.5% as individual contribution.
“ The Unions had insisted that they would rather stay with their Superannuation Scheme (which requires a monthly deduction of 25% of their salary). However, both the Union and the Management (as joint trustees of the fund) have not been able to account for the deductions. In the absence of funds to implement the Superannuation Scheme, the Government has magnanimously agreed to pay for the PHCN and its 50,000 workforce the outstanding 15% of its pension premiums under the PRA from July 1, 2004, to June 30, 2012. This decision represents the payment of N80billion to the staff as pension, to which they did not contribute a kobo, in the first place.

The Unions, particularly the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), have made it very difficult for workers to get the truth about welfare and benefits derivable from the privatization exercise. When Manitoba Hydro International of Canada, for instance, was preparing to take over the management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria from July 30, 2012, the leadership started the vicious and false propaganda that “our national patrimony has been privatized through the backdoor” whereas both  the 2005 Electric Power Sector Reform Act and the 2010 Road Map for Power Sector Reform provide that the TCN will remain wholly government-owned but managed by a company with a robust record in this field. Under the guise of agitating for the settlement of the severance package of the TCN staff even though the TCN will not be affected by privatization the NUEE leadership has to this day used physical force to prevent the eight executives from Manitoba Hydro International from assuming office”.
The federal government enthused that with letters of advice on retirement benefits now being distributed to each of the employees of the 17 PHCN successor companies and any TCN staff members opting to retire now, the NUEE leadership has used force to prevent PHCN employees from receiving the letters and knowing their true contents. The NUEE officers want the PHCN staff to remain brainwashed and ignorant of the true state of affairs.
“The Nigerian people have over the decades suffered untold hardship as far as power is concerned. In no circumstance should they be made to suffer more hardship. This is why the improved power situation of the last few weeks has been well received by all and sundry. The determination of some disgruntled professional agitators to sabotage the growing power supply and return the nation to the days of darkness through immoral, illegitimate and illegal directives will now be frustrated. Enough is enough” the statement enthused.

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