Inadequate budget, delays NELMCO’s pension payment of ex-PHCN staff-MD

  • …dismisses reports on assets disposal

By Etuka Sunday

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO), Dr. Sam Agbogun yesterday attributed the delay in the payment of pension allowances for the severed staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to inadequate budget.

Dr. Sam Agbogun who made the disclosure during a press conference organised by the Agency said about N1.3 billion was required monthly for the payment, while N16 billion was needed annually for the same purpose.

He however, expressed concerned that only N14 billion was quoted in the 2014 budget recently approved by the National Assembly for the payment of the pension instead of the N16 billion required, leaving a shortfall of N2 billion.

“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. “What is on the budget this year is 14bn, so we are sourcing more for N2bn, and that is to say if we stick by the budget, by the end of November we would have finished it,” he said.

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 would commence.

NELMCO however dismissed media reports that it had commenced disposal of inherited PHCN assets noting that it only some sold off scrap and obsolete items comprising of 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 is 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 that, “the quantum of NELMCO’s liabilities as at 31st March, 2014 is about N752bn of which N392.2bn is interagency debts that will be transferred to the Debt Management Office (DMO) and other Ministries for cancellation.” “It might interest you to know that limited due diligence on the non-core assets will soon commence with the updating of the records and perfection of land title documents which have lapsed and which PHCN did not revalidate.”

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,” he said.

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