Anx­i­ety over loom­ing sack of ex-PHCN staff by new own­ers

Daily Trust - - NEWS - Ex-PHCN work­ers stag­ing a protest in Abuja in file pic­ture. By Si­mon Echewo­fun Sun­day

Mem­bers of staff of the de­funct Power Hold­ing Com­pany of Nigeria (PHCN) are now gripped by fear of the pos­si­ble loss of their jobs as the six months agree­ment en­tered into be­tween the govern­ment and the new own­ers for them to be re­tained ends April 30.

The Federal Govern­ment had on Novem­ber 1, 2013 handed over 10 Dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies (Dis­cos) and four Gen­er­a­tion com­pa­nies (Gen­cos) that all emerged from the de­funct PHCN to the own­ers.

Dur­ing the hand­ing over cer­e­mony, the Bureau of Pub­lic En­ter­prise (BPE) said 47,913 for­mer PHCN work­ers were dis­en­gaged fol­low­ing the pri­vati­sa­tion of the na­tional power firm.

Sources said that the new own­ers have, af­ter reach­ing an agree­ment with the BPE, promised to re­tain some work­ers, num­ber­ing about 25,000 for a pe­riod of six months.

Some of the work­ers spo­ken to dis­closed that they were con­trac­tu­ally en­gaged by the firms’ own­ers in Oc­to­ber, last year, for six months.

Daily Trust checks re­vealed that some of the work­ers were fired early this year, how­ever, while oth­ers were re­tained pend­ing the ex­pi­ra­tion of their con­tract in April 30.

A source in one of the Dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies, who craved anonymity, said that the new own­ers “brought in new people, in­clud­ing se­cu­rity staff, early this year while some of us still work­ing had our portfolios reshuf­fled.”

Daily Trust also gath­ered that some of the com­pa­nies have be­gun staff as­sess­ment ex­er­cise and even con­tracted re­cruit­ment agencies for fresh re­cruit­ment ex­er­cise.

Sources said NEDC/KEPCO Con­sor­tium, the own­ers of Ikeja Disco and Eg­bin Power Plc (Genco), have con­tracted KPMG to carry out the com­pe­tency val­i­da­tion and as­sess­ment of its work­ers.

It would also be re­called that one of the Dis­cos, which did not re­veal its iden­tity, in a re­cent advertisement in one of the na­tional dailies, said it has con­tracted FITC, a re­cruit­ment agency, to process ap­pli­ca­tions of ap­pli­cants for var­i­ous tech­ni­cal and ad­min­is­tra­tive po­si­tions.

One of the re­tained staff in Abuja Elec­tric­ity Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany (AEDC), now owned by KANN Con­sor­tium, said, how­ever, that the com­pany’s “man­age­ment may not be think­ing of re­cruit­ment now, but may be con­duct­ing as­sess­ment for ac­tual down­siz­ing of the work­force in our ser­vice area.”

The PHCN suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies were, for the pur­pose of pri­vati­sa­tion, categorised into the Dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies (Dis­cos) and the Gen­er­a­tion com­pa­nies (Gen­cos).

The 10 Dis­cos in­clude, Abuja Disco now owned by KANN Con­sor­tium; Eko Disco by West Power and Gas; Jos Disco of Aura En­ergy Con­sor­tium; Benin Disco be­long­ing to Vi­geo Con­sor­tium; Port Har­court Disco now owned by 4Power Con­sor­tium.

Other Dis­cos are, Ikeja Disco, now the as­set of NEDC/KEPCO Con­sor­tium; the Ibadan and Yola Dis­cos were ac­quired by In­te­grated En­ergy Dis­tri­bu­tion and Mar­ket­ing Com­pany, while Sa­he­lian Power (SPV) took over the Kano Disco.

The other cat­e­gory is the Gen­er­a­tion com­pa­nies (Gen­cos) com­pris­ing, Kainji Power Plc now be­long­ing to Main­stream En­ergy Limited; Shi­roro Hy­dropower Sta­tion now the as­set of North South Power Com­pany; Transcorp/Woodrock Con­sor­tium bought Ughelli Power Plc; Geregu Power Plc was handed over to Am­pe­rion Power, and Sapele Plc went to CMEC/EUAFRIC En­ergy JV, but was `handed over later.

The Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of BPE, Mr Ben­jamin Dikki, said af­ter the han­dover that govern­ment spent N360bn to set­tle the ter­mi­nal ben­e­fits of 51,247 PHCN staff, out of which the agency re­vealed 47,913 were ac­tive staff, while 3,334 were re­tired PHCN staff.

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