98% of PHCN workers paid pension, gratuity, says NCP

The National Council on Privatisation said 98 per cent of the entire population of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria have so far been paid a total of N373.17 billion as pensions and gratuities as well as other severance benefits.

The Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Benjamin Dikki, said a total of 46,744 of the 47,913 former workers received their entitlements, with only 1,169 left to be paid.

Those yet to collect their entitlements, Mr. Dikki said, include those who left the service before severance payment; those whose benefits are currently being processed for validation as well as those yet to be confirmed as bonafide former PHCN workers.

Among the retirees, the BPE DG said a total of 2,791, or 65 per cent, received N16.4 billion, with 1,516 others either failing to show up for verification, or still undergoing further verification where their next of kin have not been able to produce the required court papers.

Noting the progress achieved so far towards the settlement of the workers’ severance package, pensions and gratuity, Mr. Diki said the Council directed the Implementation Committee to handover all information and documents concerning outstanding active staff and pensioners verifications and payments to BPE.

The Council also directed that the process of verification and payment of outstanding applications should continue until the final payment is done.

A breakdown of the various payment streams included severance benefits to former active staff of the power company as well as retirees/death benefits, which PHCN could not pay before handing over of the successor companies to new investors.

About 98 per cent of the staff was paid in the first phase between July 2013 and March 2015, with the second phase, covering non-payment to some active staff, majority of retirees and next-of-kin of deceased staff, billed for February 2015 to date.

BPE had drawn the attention of NCP to the fact that despite the substantial progress made in the settlement of the terminal benefits of PHCN workers which culminated in the relative industrial harmony experienced in the sector, there had been some challenges the BPE was striving to surmount.

Some of the challenges faced by the Committee in the payment of the benefits, Mr. Dikki said, included the refusal of active staff/retirees and next-of-kin of deceased PHCN employees to appear for verification.

Other challenges, he said, included the logistics of reaching out for verification beneficiaries confirmed to be ill, terminally- ill or residing in some remote parts of the country and in Diaspora.

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