Lagos - Prof. Barth Nnaji, the Minister of Power, has said that workers of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) should not expect severance pay because TCN is not being privatised.
The minister's view is contained in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Ogbuagu Anikwe, in Lagos on Sunday.
The minister expressed the view in reaction to protests by the workers at the headquarters of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in Abuja on Thursday.
He said ongoing negotiations included other benefits for workers of the other 17 unbundled PHCN generation and distribution companies which were being privatised.
"I cannot understand why the workers embarked on protests when TCN remains a government holding company which has never been put up and shall not be put up for privatisation," he said.
The minister said that rather than privatise TCN, which would require sorting out labour issues, government had approved the employment of an additional 1 000 engineers and technicians.
He said the recruitment would fill gaps in manpower shortage to run the power transmission backbone.
Nnaji said the government had achieved a major milestone in the implementation of its Power Sector Reform as Manitoba Electrical would assume management control of TCN on Monday.
He said the management had been contracted to the Canadian company after it emerged as the winner of a competitive bid, organised by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
The minister said Manitoba would come with eight expatriate managers to run the company for three years in the first instance.
"The current managers of TCN will understudy the expatriate managers, acting as their shadows.
"In other words, the Nigerian CEO and executive directors will still function as the number two person in their current positions, reporting to the new managers,’’ he said.
He recalled that the workers were said to have threatened to continue the action until their severance and other PHCN negotiated benefits were paid.