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PHCN staff gets 50% salary increase

By on September 29, 2011

THE Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, has directed the management of each of the 18 successor- 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 executive officers  (CEOs) of the successor companies, made available to the Nigerian Tribune on Wednesday, Professor Nnaji said the Federal Government had agreed to pay the outstanding first three months of the new salary package which took effect from June 2011.

This, he said, would 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 N11 billion monthly and utilises a little over N7 billion of it on staff salaries and emoluments.

The 50 per cent salary increase will now bring the new wage bill to over N11 billion, thereby leaving the holding company with a balance of some two billion naira monthly.

The minister stated that this situation was far from satisfactory as the PHCN still had 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 stated.

Nnaji expressed optimism that the N17 billion 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 per cent, instead of 35 per cent, last month is not good enough. Our commercial losses, which stand at 40 per cent largely because of improper metering and non-metering, are still unacceptably high,” he stated.

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 balloon further with the ongoing regularisation of the appointments of thousands of Nigerians who “have been working as so-called casual workers.”

Each  of the about 10,000 casual workers, according to Nnaji, would have his appointment regularised 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,” he noted.