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, the payment streams were categorized into two Severance payments to 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, the statement said were forwarded to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) for payment in 36 batches. BPE said out 638 outstanding active staff, there were 167 duplicate and blank spaces on the list, 414 never turned up for verification, 25 have been audited and are awaiting cash-backing, nine 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 while180 cases recently treated and recomputed for short–payment are awaiting cash backing. The Statement further said that 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; 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 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 theAccountant General of the Federation (AGF) to credit the Unions’ Account for the remaining deductions.
On the 10 percent equity shareholding for 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.