ABUJA–THE Federal government has directed the management of each of the 18 companies created out of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to start paying the staff a 50 per cent salary increase from this month.
In a memo sent to the chief executives of the successor companies, Prof Nnaji announced that the Federal Government has graciously agreed to pay the outstanding first three months of the new salary package which took effect from June 2011.
This, he said, will enable CEOs of the successor companies, who are running the companies as autonomous business entities, to henceforth begin paying the new salary package from September 2011.
The PHCN hitherto generates about 11 billion naira monthly and utilizes a little over N7billion of it on staff salary and emoluments.
The 50 percent salary increase will now bring the new wage bill to over N11billion, thereby leaving the holding company with a balance of some two billion naira monthly.
The minister stated that that this situation is far from satisfactory as the PHCN still has to pay eight billion naira every month to gas and electricity suppliers like Shell, AES, Agip, the Rivers and Akwa ibom state governments which operate Independent Power Projects (IPPs) as well as meet other operational costs of running the business.
“At least N17 billion has to be generated monthly to defray operational costs and pay staff salaries monthly”, he said.
Prof. Nnaji expressed optimism that the N17b benchmark could be met if the PHCN management and staff increased power supply to the public and plugged some leakages within the system.
“A situation where our efficiency rate improved at 15 percent, instead of 35 percent, last month is not good enough”, he declared.
He continued: “Our commercial losses, which stand at 40% largely because of improper metering and non-metering, are still unacceptably high.”
Professor Nnaji also urged the PHCN leadership to stop such sharp practices as bypassing of air conditioners, pressing irons, welding machines and other heavy power consuming gadgets in the metering system.
The minister reminded the CEOs that their monthly salary bills would increase further with the ongoing regularization of the appointments of thousands of Nigerians who “have been working as so-called casual workers”.
Each of the 5,000-10,000 casual workers, according to Nnaji, would have his appointment regularized from the date of his or her appointment.
“It is, therefore, incumbent on you to devise creative and productive ways to meet your primary obligations to these employees once the biometric data of the casual workers are completed and they are converted to the regular staff”, noted the minister.