FG begins payment of N30.5bn to NPA retirees


June 28, 2006/punch




The sub-committee of the Special Task Force on Port Reform, headed by the Accountant-General of the Federation, may begin payment of terminal benefits to retired staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority next week.

The former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had in January signed an agreement with labour unions to make N30.5billion available for payment of severance package to about 3,000 NPA workers already retired and those yet to be laid off under the ongoing port concession.

The Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, NPA, Mr. Chris Borha, told our correspondent in Lagos on Monday, that payment of the disengagement benefits would begin “any time next week” although he did not specify the actual day.

“We are trying to get everything right. Anytime from next week, we will begin payment. We appreciate their patience so far and we can only implore them to cooperate with the committee to ensure the success of the exercise,” Borha said.

Earlier, the spokesman had told our correspondent that the fund was being managed by the special committee, which had made an arrangement with the United Bank for Africa where the cheques had been prepared.

He said that following a recent staff audit, the beneficiaries are required to show evidence that they had been identified and proceed with their identity cards to the designated UBA branch on a date to be announced.

Some of the retirees had complained about undue delays in the payment of the severance package since they were disengaged two years ago and accused the NPA of trying to make an elaborate ceremony out of the exercise.

But Borha said, “There is nothing to be elaborate about. We will put notices in the papers so that they will know when to come because we don’t want people to just come here for nothing. We have furnished the committee with the list of those to be paid and what each officer is entitled.

“It is not NPA that is paying the money. The Federal Government’s committee headed by the Accountant-General of the Federation will pay them. The committee manages the fund. But, based on the modalities approved, nobody will go to Abuja to collect his money. Everything will be done in Lagos.”

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