FG spent N487bn on ex-PHCN workers’ terminal benefits –BPE boss

Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki, yesterday disclosed that a whopping N487,000,000,000 was spent to offset the terminal entitlements of former workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Dikki who spoke at an in- teractive meeting with the umbrella union of workers of the Federal Housing Author- ity (FHA), the Senior Staff Association of Communica- tions, Transport and Corpora- tions (SSACTAC), an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Abuja, said although the whole proceeds of $2.6 billion (N442,000,000,000) from the privatisation of PHCN was not enough, the government had to go for ad- ditional N45 billion from the federal treasury.

He told the unionists that one of the reasons the Fed- eral Government decided to reform the housing sector was to ensure regulation as there is presently no standard in the industry.

He noted that reforms would introduce regulation in the housing sector to ensure standards as is obtainable in the telecoms, electric power and other key sectors of the economy.

He said that the objective of the reforms of Nigeria’s housing sector was to ensure the sector becomes vibrant, utilises local content and facilitates private sector investments while assuring the workers that their interests would be protected in the cause of the reforms as the government  places high premium on workers’ welfare during reforms and privatisation exercises.

Dikki noted that govern- ment will and must always take cognizance of labour is- sues, hence the inclusion of labour leaders in the member- ship of the National Council on Privatisations (NCP) and the Steering Committee on the Restructuring of the Hous- ing Sector, which, he said, “is key in the growth and devel- opment of the nation’s econ- omy.”

The meeting with the union leaders was called to address the concerns of the workers on the impending reforms and to keep them on the same page with the government.

Earlier, Acting Director, National Facilities and Agri- cultural Resources in the BPE, Dr. Vincent Akpotaire, allayed fears of the workers about the alleged outright privatisation of government’s entity, say- ing the intended reforms of the FHA was for full commercial- isation that would enable the entities attract funds for their operations.

Responding, the Presi- dent General of SSACTAC, Mohammad Yunusa, said that FHA had in the past dis- charged its mandate satisfac- torily but was presently ham- strung by poor funding.

Source : SunOnline

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