The Federal Government has earmarked N85bn in this year’s budget to settle the entitlements of workers of the successor companies to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria who may be retrenched in the privatisation exercise.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, told our correspondent on the telephone on Monday that the amount had been earmarked by the government to pay off PHCN workers who might lose their jobs as a result of the privatisation exercise in the power sector.
“A sum of N85bn has been earmarked in the 2012 budget to pay off workers that may be laid off in the privatisation process,” he said.
The PHCN workers are currently in talks with a Federal Government team over what their entitlements would be, though the talks have been largely deadlocked.
The Federal Government had in 2010 earmarked about N200bn to pay PHCN workers but part of the fund was used to pay their monetisation benefits, while the remainder could not be utilised because the privatisation process could not be concluded.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises has said that about N200bn will be realised from the privatisation of the 18 successor companies created from the unbundling of PHCN.
According to a statement issued by the spokesman, BPE, Mr. Chukuma Nwokoh, the Director-General of the bureau, Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa, said during a management retreat held in Abuja that over N1.2bn had so far been collected as privatisation proceeds for 2012.
The BPE boss said that the bulk of the N200bn revenue would come at the conclusion of the ongoing privatisation of the PHCN successor companies.
She said the privatisation of the Olorunsogo Power Plant would be completed within a month, stressing that the bureau’s work plan was proceeding with vigour in spite of delays in the release of its capital budget.
Onagoruwa said, “The next key milestone is the submission of the technical and financial proposals of bidders, slated for July 17, for generating companies and July 31 for distribution companies. This development will be followed by the commencement of evaluation.
“The evaluation of generation companies will be concluded by August 14, while that for the distribution companies will end by August 31.”
Onogoruwa said the bureau would seek approval from the National Council on Privatisation for the evaluation of the generation companies on August 28, while that of the distribution companies would hold on September 11.
Already, Onagoruwa had briefed the management meeting on the seven pending reform bills, the statement said.
Some of the bills include the Railway Bill, Inland Waterways Bill, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill and the Postal Bill.
The bills were approved by the NCP since 2009 and sent to the Federal Executive Council.
“The FEC sent it back to the BPE and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for fine-tuning and interfacing with line ministries. The process of fine-tuning and interfacing with line ministries has been concluded and all the bills are ready and the legal committee of the NCP is having a final look at them,” Onogoruwa said.