The Federal Government spent N609.4bn on settlement of labour liabilities in privatised public enterprises between 2000 and 2013, the Bureau of Public Enterprises has said.
The Director-General, BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, said this in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday by the Head of Public Communications at the agency, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe.
Dikki noted that the sector breakdown showed that a chunk of the money was spent on the settlement of labour liabilities in the power sector, which gulped over N384.06bn, representing 63 per cent of the entire payout to workers in the privatised agencies.
“The power sector was closely followed by the telecommunications sector, and principally, the settlement of labour issues in the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited and the Nigerian Mobile Telecommunications Limited, with a total sector sum of N126,716,111,589,” he said.
The BPE boss pointed out that the Federal Government had spent N67,780,039,618.52 on the settlement of labour liabilities in the transport and aviation sector, with the bulk of it spent on the workers of the Nigeria Ports Authority.
He said the steel sector consumed another N10,733,347,712.53 for the settlement of labour liabilities, adding that the government spent about N8,950,510,491 on the settlement of labour issues in privatised enterprises in the agro-allied sector.
Others are insurance, N4.7bn; sugar companies, N3.5bn; paper mills, N417.4m; hospitality, N1.26bn; cement companies, N636.32m; media enterprises, N505,87m; and petrochemicals, N106.6m.
On the Power Holding Company of Nigeria successor companies, Dikki said the government had shown a tremendous goodwill and commitment to resolving all the labour issues in the industry, adding that it was the reason all the proceeds realised from the sale of assets of the privatised firms were committed to settling labour liabilities.
He added, “Payment of all the workers’ entitlements is ongoing and money has been set aside to pay all those that have been duly cleared.
“The Federal Government has demonstrated great commitment to resolving labour issues in the power sector reform and privatisation. Apart from committing the entire proceeds realised from the sale of the power assets to the payment of the workers’ terminal benefits, the government had, at the initial stage of the transaction, released N57bn to take care of the workers’ pension.”
Dikki said this came after the government had increased the workers’ salaries by 50 per cent and regularised the appointments of some of the casual workers.