President Goodluck Jonathan once again dissuaded disengaged workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) from proceeding on strike following the delay in payment of their severance packages.
He assured them that government is doing all that is necessary to ensure that they are paid as soon as possible.
Speaking at the commissioning of the 500mw Omotosho II Power Station built by the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) in Ondo State, the President said there was no need for the disengaged workers to go on strike as the government was fully committed to paying.
The commissioning of Omotosho II power plant, is the second of such events in the last three weeks following the recent commissioning of the Geregu Power Plant in Kogi State.
He noted that the Nigerian Bulk Trader which has been funded with about $750million to enable it effectively execute its mandate had also made arrangements to effectively fund the Nigerian Electricity Liability Company, to enable it assume liabilities associated with the privatization of the PHCN successor companies as well as other liabilities and other related issues.
“We like to reassure all PHCN workers, our dear labour leaders that have not received their full severance packages that government is working hard to make sure that all of you get what is due to you. There is no need for industrial action,” the President said adding that by the middle of next year “light will be reasonably, I am not saying total, light will be reasonably stabilized in the country.”
According to him the commissioning of the Omotosho plant was part of government’s efforts to provide adequate, reliable and sustainable electricity supply to “our country men and women” adding that the target of government was to add 4700mw to the existing power generating capacity with the commissioning of all the 10 power plants built by the NIPP.
Lauding the efforts and contribution of the private sector, the President expressed confidence in their ability to provide adequate electricity in the country, stating that government’s decision to privatize national power infrastructure was for national interest.
Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, noted that government was committed to adding power to Nigeria, powering industry and moving the country forward, adding that the commissioning of Omotosho and Geregu plants was a testimony of the Jonathan administration’s relentless effort in providing adequate power to Nigerians.
He added that the success achieved in the provision of power infrastructure and the completion of the privatization process had proved all those who doubted the ability of government wrong.
“Most people thought privatization was impossible when you started but you have successfully handed over the infrastructure to successor companies. You provided the enabling environment to almost complete the payment to disengaged workers. Everything they said was impossible to do, we have achieved under your leadership,” he told the President.
In his remarks Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko expressed gratitude to God that the state was hosting such a gigantic project. He also saluted the President “for turning around infrastructure in the country” and focusing on projects that would benefit Nigerians irrespective of their political, or religious affiliation.