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FG pays N384billion entitlements of PHCN staff

By on February 21, 2013

The Federal Government has announced the payment of N384billion for all outstanding entitlements of staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu who briefed alongside the minster of Power, Chinedu Nebo and the Special Adviser o the President on Media and Publicity Dr. Rueben Abati, told journalist at a briefing after the Federal Executive Council Meeting at the Presidenial villa that President Goodluck Jonathan gave approval for the payment to commence Thursday the 21st of February.

“I want to inform you that the agreed benefits accruing to the staff of PHCN in the last negotiation between government and the Labour Unions has been approved by the President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Payment of the agreed sum will commence immediately and that bring to am end, the issue of non-payment of benefits to an end. So, we enjoin labour unions in the power sector to work closely with the Ministry of Power in the payment of these benefits as agreed. The process will commence tomorrow and I want to assure them that this bring to anm end the labour issue in the sector.

“This payment is only for PHCN staff and in determining who should nbenefit, labour and government conducted a biometric excercise. The number of people benefiting is clearly defined by this agreement.
The total package is aproximately N384 billion in full payment of all outstanding benefits that we agreed upon. It will be done within the best principle of transparency and accountability” Wogu said.

Also speaking at the briefing the Minister of Power said  “We are very grateful to the staff of PHCN for all that they have done to make sure that power is available all over the country. We do hope that they will continue to serve patriotically to ensure that no hitches is put inplace in the realisation of the entire power sector roadmap”.

We want to make sure that eventually Nigerians get uninterrupted power supply and that is excactly whjat the roadmap for the power sector addresses”.

The government had earlier agreed that it will pay the staff totaling 54,000 and this implied that the PHCN workers that will be absorbed by new owners will have a new condition of service in line with agreement with Labour.

Payment of gratuity had been the centre of the unresolved labour issues that had pitched the organised labour sector against the government, stalling the privatisation of PHCN assets and government reform agenda in the power sector.

It would be recalled that government appointed Chief Negotiator/Conciliator in its face-off with PHCN workers, Comrade Hassan Sumonu, in his recommendations to the government in October, advised that workers be paid their gratuity, but in line with PHCN’s conditions of service.

The Chief Negotiator/Conciliator had dismissed argument by government that PRA 2004 abolished gratuity in PHCN or any other sector, saying there was no reference to gratuity in the act.

The disagreement on the modality for the payment of the workers’ pensions and gratuity was the major problem between the Federal Government and workers of PHCN.

While agents of the government had contended that the workers were entitled to pension and gratuity up to June 30, 2004, and thereafter the provisions of PRA 2004 should apply, the unions on the other hand argued that gratuity should be paid in accordance with the extant PHCN Conditions of Service.

Before the agreement, government had insisted that the new Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, which took effect on July 1, 2004, must be applied to PHCN workers and that gratuity ended with the take off of CPS. But the workers insisted that PHCN in-house pension scheme should be applied and the PRA did not abolish gratuity.

In this agreement, government agreed to extend the payment of workers’ gratuity to July 1, 2007. Government will calculate 15 per cent contribution from government and workers from July 1, 2007 up to June 30, 2012, and paid in accordance to the CPS.

While 25 per cent will be paid to the workers, the remaining 75 per cent will be paid into the workers’ Retirement Saving Accounts, RSAs.

On the issue of severance benefit, before the SGF took over the negotiation, government was saying it would pay 20 per cent of basic salary, while the unions disagreed.

However, it now agreed that the 20 per cent should now be calculated based on the total value of gratuity and pension.


[Daily Times]