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