Government pays N292 billion severance package, as strike threat looms

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The Federal Government has confirmed the payment of N292.5 billion to 40,093 employees of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, disclosed this to journalists at the State House after a closed door meeting with Vice President Namadi Sambo.

Igali said N212 billion represented the severance payment, whilst N80 billion was intended for pension and gratuity.

He said: “We have been asked by the Vice President to update you on the outcome of the briefing, which he has just received for the preparations towards the handover of PHCN assets to the new owners by 1st of November. So far, during the process of validation, revalidation and processing, the total number of 40,093 workers, as at this morning, have been completely validated and their entitlements paid.

“An additional 605 workers were validated in the course of yesterday and their papers have just been sent in for payment of their entitlements.

“The 40,093 people, the severance components that have been paid out is N214.22 billion while the pension components (N80.290 billion) has been paid.”

“In total, 47,913 PHCN workers were identified in the process of validation, regularisation, and cross-checking of workers. As you know, this process has to be done because PHCN is a very large organisation and had workers in all parts of this country.”

Citing some problems with payments to some of the employees due to technical issues, Ligali said arrangements were being made to accomodate them.

He said: “The balance of the number, we have some issues with some of them. It is an electronic process and unfortunately some workers in Enugu Disco, 1,478 workers, their biometric capture got corrupted by virus and the consultant has moved to site in Enugu to recapture them.

“Additional 929 other workers from around the country also had their biometric data corrupted. This is a usual thing that happens when dealing with large numbers and we are bringing them to Abuja at the expense of the government for their biometric data to be recaptured so that they can be paid their entitlements immediately. “

“An additional about 1,000 workers from the number that is left has been cleared, but there are some duplications of various nature; names are duplicated, accounts are duplicated.

“For example, there are cases where people have three names and while filling they put only two names. There are also cases where someone’s name is Mohammed and they write Mahmud. So, these things have to be captured properly because the amounts are big and we don’t want the wrong people to be paid somebody else’s money.

“For such a huge number, such delays have occurred and that is why we are accounting 6,000 or so people that their cases are still being dealt with out of the 47,000.”

“There are cases of 2,500 that are bad cases, but they are being handled. These are cases of people that don’t have any record, any document to back up the claim that they are PHCN workers. But people have identified them that they have been in the system. These are mostly casual workers and their cases are being looked into,” he added

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