THE Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, has said that a total of 2,777 people who worked for the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, before the firm was sold to private investors have not been verified for terminal benefits. Benjamin Dikki, director-general, BPE, gave the indication in a statement released by Chigbo Anichebe, head of public communications of the organisation, in Abuja.
Dikki said the verification team chaired by Godknows Igali, permanent secretary, ministry of power, had so far verified 45,136 ex-workers out of 47,913 for payment. He also disclosed that the BPE had remitted to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation a total of N370 billion for the payment of the former employees of the defunct PHCN.
He said that after the BPE’s nationwide field verification of the possible 4,194 PHCN retirees, 2,931 or their next of kin had been verified, leaving 1,163 people yet to be verified. He said the verification committee and the BPE were making efforts to ensure that the outstanding pensioners were verified and paid their entitlements expeditiously.
Dikki advised the pensioners, or their next of kin, who had not been verified to report for the verification exercise before Wednesday, April 2. He said that out of the 47,913 ex-workers on the list obtained from the PHCN, 45,136 verified workers’ entitlements had been cash-backed in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for payment.
Dikki explained that 338 on the retirees list were exited workers, while 21 others were cases of duplication. He stated that 262 cases were currently being processed, while 551 had already been recommended for validation by the Verification Committee on Payment of PHCN Severance Payment. The director-general said that President Goodluck Jonathan had demonstrated great commitment in resolving labour issues in the power sector.
Oil Marketers Threaten to Go on Strike
OIL marketers in Nigeria have threatened to embark on a nationwide strike over the alleged illegal shutdown of the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company’s depot in Apapa, Lagos, by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers. Abidemi Agunbiade, chairman, Concerned Marketers, who spoke with journalists in Lagos, said the current fuel scarcity in the country might be aggravated by the continuous shutdown of the NIPCO’s depot, which pumps 30 percent of the daily national demand.
Agunbiade said the shutdown of the plant, which entered the ninth day on Monday, March 31, had affected more than 1,000 marketers, who had paid to load petrol, but were now defaulting on their obligations to the banks which they borrowed money from. According to him, the discharge of more than 45 million litres of petrol brought into the country into the NIPCO depot is being stalled due to the shutdown.
“About four vessels are on the high sea, including that of the NNPC, which they are paying demurrage of between $15,000 and $20,000 on daily basis due the shutdown of NIPCO by the leadership of NUPENG. Our trucks laden with petroleum products have been stuck in the company in the last nine days, which is aggravating the scarcity in most stations across the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tokunbo Korodo chairman, NUPENG, western zone, said that the pump price of petrol had increased because the product was not being made available to the marketers. “Some of the marketers are now patronising black marketers who sell above the pump price. The few ones selling at the pump price have seriously adjusted their pumps by selling lesser quantity that does not correspond to the money the masses are paying, just to avoid closure of their stations by the DPR.”
Inadequate Metering a Challenge to Power Investors
ABIODUN Ajifowobaje, managing director, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, IKEDC, has said that inadequate metering in the country is one of the major challenges confronting the new owners in the power sector. Delivering a paper titled, “The Power Sector Post-Privatisation: Challenges and Implication on the Manufacturing Sector”, at the fifth edition of MAN Ikeja Manufacturers’ Consultative Forum, said that the new owners are also battling with inadequate supply from the national grid, which has continued to hamper their ability to meet up with current demand.
He said that only 35 percent of Ikeja DISCO’s customers are adequately metered as at date, while the company receives an average of 350 megawatts, MW, per month since November when the privatisation exercise was completed out of its 900 MW demand, leaving the company with 550 MW shortage.
According to Ajifowobaje, it is impossible to guarantee a 24-hour power supply with the present situation, stating it is pertinent for the country to seek power generation from alternative sources like wind, solar, and waste among others. Stating that this is what is obtainable in countries like Sweden, he appealed to Nigerians to desist from energy theft as it erodes the revenue of the new power owners.
Speaking on ‘Other Sources of Power Available to Manufacturers aside IKEDC,’ Reginald Odiah, managing director, Bennett Industries. Limited and chairman, infrastructure committee, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, said that the most viable alternative for manufacturers is delineation of members into clusters and provision of power plants to serve each cluster.
According to him, the system will eliminate the agony and pains of running individual power plant at unnecessarily high cost, allow manufacturers to fully concentrate on their core business, and substantially reduce cost of production for which power alone constitute about 35 percent to 40 percent. He advised the DISCOs to “introduce and encourage energy efficiency practices that will reduce wastages and free saved energy for use.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Apr. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT