The federal government on Monday said, it has 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) in a statement signed by its head of public communications, Mrs Amina Tukur said the payment streams were categorised into two: Severance payments to former active staff of PHCN and the 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 staff, the total number submitted to the BPE by PHCN was 47, 913 out of which 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 batches.
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.
“Four thousand four hundred and thirty eight (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 error in serial numbering, 66 possible duplicates in submissions, which 14 of them have been recently audited,” Tukur stated.
BPE said 196 people 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.
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.