…demands swift payment of N34.9b owe to electricity sector pensioners
By Linda Musa
Federal government parastatal pensioners under the aegis of Electricity Sector Retirees Welfare Association (ESREWA), have commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo, for the constitution and inauguration of the all important board of the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company Ltd (NELMCO).
ESREWA further said it members will not stop praising President Buhari-led government for its unrelenting efforts at ensuring that pensioners in Nigeria receive their monthly pensions promptly and even the payment of pension arrears of many months and years owed to different sector pensioners.
The pensioners went further to congratulate all the members of the newly inaugurated NELMCO board under the chairperson-ship of the Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. (Mrs) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed. They also expressed their undoubted faith on the capacity, capability and the integrity of the chairperson of the board and the members in ensuring that all the liabilities which include the accrued rights of electricity sector pensioners are totally paid.
Clearly stated in a press statement signed by its President, Elder Benjamin M. Amako, ESREWA, also declare their support and cooperation to the newly inaugurated board members, pledging to do whatever necessary to ensure the board executes its duties smoothly.
However, the pensioners urged the board to swiftly swing into action and attend to the lingering outstanding accrued rights and arrears amounting to N34.9 billion owed to the electricity sector pensioners.
The statement in part said; “The N34.9 billion owed to us, the electricity sector pensioners was established in 2014 by NELMCO. We were even told by NELMCO that the money was approved and budget for onward payment to us. But till date unfortunately, we have not heard, seen, or received a dime.
“We are joyful and grateful when we heard that Vice President Osinbanjo has inaugurated the board. So in a special way, we thank President Buhari and his Vice for the job well done. We cannot stop praising them for the unrelenting effort towards ensuring that pensioners are well treated. Posterity we judge them well for this.
“We are using to opportunity to urge President Buhari and Vice President Osinbanjo and the members board, especially the Minister of Finance to leave no stone unturned in ensuring we receive the entitlements of our life sweat. We have in the past written to President Buhari and Vice President Osinbanjo on the matter and we are once again calling on them to specifically help us.”
Recall that Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo, had on 19 August, 2022, inaugurated NELMCO board. NELMCO is a company limited by guarantee incorporated on 25th August, 2006 by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to assume and administer the debts and non-core assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Plc as well as the pre-privatization liabilities of the PHCN, in line with the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
The first Board of NELMCO was inaugurated by Council on the 31st October, 2013 to comprehensively address the PHCN liabilities that were being transferred to the Company. The Board was however dissolved, and the Company has been running without a duly constituted Board since then.
Osinbanjo at the inauguration said; Today’s inauguration marks an important milestone in the bid to resolve the liabilities relating to tariff shortfalls in the Power Sector (specifically for Distribution Companies), and to provide a veritable mechanism for managing the very dynamic nature of the liquidity challenges of the power sector in Nigeria.
“This ceremony formally brings on board the invaluable skills and experience of highly respected personalities as members of the Board of NELMCO. These include the Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. (Mrs) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed (Chairperson), Hon. Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu (Member), Director General of BPE, Mr Alex Okoh (Member), Director General of DMO, Ms Patience Oniha (Member), Managing Director of NELMCO, Mr Bayo Fagbemi (Member), Mr Muhammad Aliyu Jumma’a (Member), Mr Olufunso Olutola Olukoga, (Member), Dr. Chinedum Orisakwe (Member), Mojoyinoluwa Dekalu-Thomas (Member), and Dr. Nurain Hassan Ibrahim (Member).
“Your appointment as members of the Board is also a unique opportunity to contribute to the socio-economic development of our country.
“Some of the cardinal objectives of the economic agenda of this Administration are to ensure accelerated growth of the economy, provide infrastructure, create jobs, and provide a suitable environment for productive activities to flourish and tap our enormous natural wealth for the benefit of our people.
“You are required to diligently carry out the responsibilities assigned to the Board in accordance with the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association (MEMART) of the Company, which amongst others include the following:
“To assume and administer the stranded debts of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Plc pursuant to the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
“To take, assume and manage the Tariff Shortfall liabilities in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry arising from challenges in the management of electricity tariffs payable by consumers.
“To manage post-privatization liabilities in the power sector as may be directed by the National Council on Privatization, or any authorized agency of the Federal Government from time to time, in line with the Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
“To hold the non-core assets of the defunct PHCN, sell or dispose of or deal in any manner for the purpose of financing the payment of debts or other related matters. Other functions that may be performed by the Board as enshrined in the MEMART and relevant legislation.
“As a Board, you are expected to make conscious and deliberate efforts to develop the appropriate strategies to facilitate the successful conclusion of the outstanding pre-privatization issues of the defunct PHCN as well as ensure effective implementation of NELMCO’s additional mandate to resolve the tariff shortfall problems of the Electricity Distribution Companies in the Power Sector.
“In view of the challenges ahead, you are expected to draw extensively on your very many years of experience over the years, to continue to give credence to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s economic development programme in a transparent, sustainable, credible, and acceptable manner.
“The Board is required to take appropriate steps also to ensure that the interests of the various segments of our society, particularly the ordinary citizens, are protected in the implementation of NELMCO’s mandate.”