BUSINESS ‘N16bn needed to pay ex-PHCN workers pension’
The Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) said that about N16 billion is needed to pay pension allowances for the severed staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2014.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive of the organisation, Dr. Sam Agbogun, disclosed this yesterday, at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja while fielding questions from journalists during a press briefing.
Agbogun said: “On a monthly basis, our average pension is around N1.3bn, in fact, in February it was N1.29bn; at N1.3bn, what we have yearly is about 16bn on average.”
He, however, decried the lack of funds to meet the demand, saying: “What is on the budget this year is 14bn, so we are sourcing for more for N2bn, and that is to say if we stick by the budget, by the end of November we would have finished it.”
Agbogun also noted that the non-core assets including buildings and landed properties of the privatised PHCN utilities have been transferred to the agency for liquidation but would have to pass through a complex process of verification before the liquidation.
He, however, dismissed media reports that it has commenced disposal of inherited PHCN assets, noting that it only sold off scrap and obsolete items comprising disused and decommissioned old power stations which PHCN has valued and had sought approval for scrap sale.
He also disclosed that the only near resemblance of a scales transaction of a non-core asset of NELMCO was the PHCN headquarters in Abuja that was recently transferred to the Federal Ministry of Power for use as office.
He stated that the agency has huge liabilities relating to Independent Power Producers (IPPs), legacy debts, local and foreign loans, other creditors and pensions, adding: “The quantum of NELMCO’s liabilities as at 31 March 2014 was about N752bn of which N392.2bn is interagency debts that will be transferred to the Debt Management Office (DMO) and other ministries for cancellation.”
“These are necessary in order to give title to the eventual purchasers of these landed assets. Therefore, NELMCO cannot sell a single property without the prior approval of the board.”