Ondo owes us N50bn gra­tu­ities, pen­sion ar­rears

The Punch - - BUSINESS & ECONOMY - Peter Dada, Akure

–Pen­sion­ers

The Ondo State chap­ter of the Nige­ria Union of Pen­sion­ers on Thurs­day ap­pealed to the state gov­ern­ment to ad­dress the is­sue of their un­paid pen­sions and ar­rears of gra­tu­ities.

The pen­sion­ers lamented that the state owed them N50bn for gra­tu­ities and pen­sion ar­rears since 2011.

The re­tirees made the ap­peal in Akure, the state cap­i­tal, dur­ing the Pen­sion­ers’ Day cel­e­bra­tion.

The theme of the oc­ca­sion was given as ‘NUP, pain and gains; min­imis­ing the pains, max­imis­ing and sus­tain­ing the gains’.

Speak­ing at the cer­e­mony, the act­ing Chair­man of the Ondo State NUP, Adedapo Salami, said there was a need for the state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to de­vice means to re­duce the suf­fer­ing of pen­sion­ers in the state, which came as a re­sult of the un­paid gra­tu­ities and pen­sions.

he urged the state gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment the 33 per cent pen­sion in­crease to the state pen­sion­ers and start the im­ple­men­ta­tion with the new min­i­mum wage.

Salami how­ever com­mended the state gov­ern­ment for “the pay­ment of six-month pen­sion ar­rears out of seven months owed by the im­me­di­ate past ad­min­is­tra­tion for core pen­sion­ers while four and a half months paid to the lo­cal gov­ern­ment and pri­mary school pen­sion­ers out of their own seven-month ar­rears.”

he said, “It is per­ti­nent to note that the state gov­ern­ment is yet to im­ple­ment the 33 per cent pen­sion in­crease to state pen­sion­ers.

“We strongly ap­peal to the gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment the 33 per cent pen­sion in­crease be­fore the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­posed N30,000 min­i­mum wage to pre­vent the state pen­sion­ers from be­ing short-changed.”

The Chair­man on the oc­ca­sion, Pa Oyekan Arije, opined that the only way out to set­tle the ac­cu­mu­lated gra­tu­ities and pen­sion ar­rears was for the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria to come up with a spe­cial bailout for state gov­ern­ments nationwide.

Ondo State Gov­er­nor, Ro­timi Ak­eredolu, said his ad­min­is­tra­tion had com­mit­ted a sum of N5.5bn to pay the un­paid gra­tu­ities in­her­ited in 2017.

Rep­re­sented by the Sec­re­tary to the State Gov­ern­ment, Mr Sun­day Abe­gunde, the gov­er­nor promised to work out how to im­ple­ment the 33 per cent pen­sion in­crease be­ing de­manded by the se­nior cit­i­zens.

“We have made the pay­ment of N5.5bn, up to date for the part pay­ment of the back­log of un­paid gra­tu­ities in­her­ited in 2017; reg­u­lar and prompt monthly re­lease of N150m for the pay­ment of gra­tu­ities, pay­ment of in­her­ited six months ar­rears of pen­sion out of seven months. All these we have done. We will soon im­ple­ment 33 per cent pen­sion in­crease when our fi­nance im­proves,” the gov­er­nor pledged.

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