Ondo Govt Owes Us N50bn Pension Arrears, Gratuities – 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.