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FG hires foreign firm to work out PHCN workers’ payoff

By on January 11, 2013


Minister of State for Power, Mrs. Zainab Kuchi

Minister of State for Power, Mrs. Zainab Kuchi

The Federal Government has taken a bold move to facilitate the payment of entitlements of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) by hiring a foreign firm to help steer the process.

The payment of entitlements of the PHCN workers will mark the finishing point of the privatisation of the PHCN successor firms.

The Federal Government has mandated the Bureau for Public Enterprises and representatives of workers’ unions to meet with the proposed firm, Alexandra Forbes, a reputable foreign firm, known for providing financial and risk services.

The meeting between the Bureau of Public Enterprises, representatives of workers’ unions and Alexandra Forbes is scheduled to hold on Monday. The meeting is scheduled to run for three days.

According to the Secretary-General, National Union of Electricity Employees, Mr. Joe Ajaero, Alexandra Forbes would provide an assessment and evaluation of entitlements of each PHCN worker prior to the final privatization of the firms.

He said, “They (government) have written a letter to us to meet next week. We are going to be meeting with Alexandra Forbes, an international company of actuarial valuer, as well as the BPE. At the meeting, we will look at the actual calculations, as Alexandra Forbes is an internationally recognised actuarial valuation firm.

“And it is only when we finish the actuarial valuation to know what the employees are worth and what amount is meant to go to each worker that we will come up with our concluding stand. It is a kind of technical committee and, thereafter, we will now have an implementation committee.”

On the precise date of the meeting, Ajaero said, “It will hold from January 14 to 16, and it will involve representatives of the unions, Alexandra Forbes and the BPE to calculate the workers’ accurate entitlements.”

Responding to questions on the reforms in the power sector, Ajaero said, the workers will maintain their grounds until an agreement is reached.

Ajaero said, “On the issue of the PHCN reform process, an agreement was reached but there has been no implementation yet. Until the agreement is religiously implemented, we will not say it has been rested or cleared.

“The issue of casual workers who are to be regularised has not been addressed. This has to be addressed once and for all, so that we will know that the number of casuals in the power sector is adequately captured when calculating workers’ entitlements.”

He also said, “Now, the other issue on what the National Council on Privatisation Act says about the 10 per cent share to be given to workers in the sector has not been attended to. And there is no way we are going to allow it to be swept under the carpet, because it was not by compulsion that the Act was passed into law and stating that workers in the sector should have 10 per cent of the company’s shares.

“However, I think the problem we are going to have here is that the BPE is taking a wrong interpretation by saying it is 12 per cent of the remaining government shares, whereas it is 10 per cent of the whole establishment. So, this issue we must resolve.”