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PHCN workers ready for showdown over the missing N85 billion superannuation fund

The  Federal Government and the organized Labour congress(NLC) and the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) are set for a showdown over the missing N85 billion superannuation fund for the pension payment of staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)

The Federal Government had claimed that it had no knowledge of the 25 per cent of salaries of workers which had over the years been deducted as contributions to their pension scheme.

“Let it be stated without equivocation that there is no PHCN employee who contributed 25 per cent of his or her salary to the pension scheme or any amount at all to the scheme up till June 30, 2004, when the PHCN was allowed by law to operate an in-house defined pension scheme, that is, a pension scheme different from what generally obtained in the public service.

“If there were contributions to the pension scheme by any PHCN personnel at all, they are not reflected in the books or bank accounts of the pension scheme.

“The trustees of the scheme are officials of the trade unions in the power sector and the PHCN management members, who are the sole signatories to the bank accounts. The Federal Government has never been involved in the management of the PHCN pension scheme. “In other words, if there is any case of fraud or misappropriation of funds, the workers should know those to be held responsible,” he averred.

The union claimed that as of June 30, 2004, there was a total sum of N88 billion in the pension account. But the minister said “this is far from the truth. The account has never had more than N3 billion. Civil society organisations are invited to verify the claim.”

The government said the demand by the workers was unrealistic, because it is in gross violation of the 2004 Pension Reform Act.

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