Acting Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Dr. Vincent Onome Akpotaire has pledged the Bureau’s willingness to work with the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to achieve its mandate especially on pension issues arising from privatized enterprises in the country.
Receiving the Management team of PTAD led by its Executive Secretary, Sharon Ikeazor who paid him a courtesy visit, Akpotaire said as a sister organisation,”we are ready to partner and work with you to achieve your mandate”.
He cautioned the organization against taking a hasty decision on the Five-year pension buy out scheme which ex-workers of most privatized enterprises had enjoyed but were not agitating that the exercise be reviewed, saying that any hasty decision on the matter could lead to a myriad of problems for the Directorate.
According to him, the Five-year pension buy out is a contractual agreement between management of those privatized entities and their employees under which the Bureau and PTAD have no obligation.
On the complaint by the Directorate that it was not involved in the last verification exercise of ex-workers, retirees and the next-of–kin of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Akpotaire said it was not deliberate but based on legacy issues especially that PTAD had not been set up at the time the Working Group (WG) for the payment of the severance package of the ex-workers was constituted by the Federal Government.
He said all the liabilities of the defunct PHCN including the Superanuation Fund have been officially gazetted and transferred to the Nigerian Electricity Liability Company of Nigeria (NELMCO) which has the mandate to handle all the defunct PHCN liabilities.
The Acting DG suggested a larger meeting of BPE, NELMCO and PTAD to discuss the merging issues.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Sharon Ikeazor had said that the purpose of the visit was to familiarize with BPE as a critical stakeholder.
She requested for updates from the Bureau on the following areas:
· Partial payment of Five years (Lump Sum) Pension buy-out involving Delta Steel, NITEL/MTEL,NICON Insurance and New Nigerian Newspapers (NNN) among others,
· Outstanding liabilities of ex-workers of the defunct PHCN,
· NELMCO’s verification of non-core assets
· Payment of death benefits to defunct PHCN Staff; and
· Superanuation Fund belonging to defunct PHCN staff.