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Declare state of emergency over N62.5b arrears, Oyo pensioners tell Gov. Makinde

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The Oyo State Secretary, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, Comrade Olusegun Abatan has called on the state government to declare a state of emergency on pension matters in view of the N63 billion arrears being owed pensioners by the state’.

Abatan made this call when thousands of pensioners paid a solidarity visit to Governor Seyi Makinde at his Agodi Governor’s Office.

The debt was incurred as a result of about 56 months of unpaid pensions and gratuities to retired primary school teachers and local government pensioners in the state.

Abatan also called for an upward review of the money allocated to settle the arrears in the interest of the retirees.

“It is regrettable to inform your Excellency that gratuities of workers, who retired in the year 2012 are just being paid in 2019. We strongly appeal that the monthly allocation to the Ministry of Establishment is increased to N500 million monthly to enable prompt payment of gratuities and pensions. If you add all these arrears together, government’s indebtedness to Oyo State pensioners alone would be in the neighbourhood of N100 billion. It is thus pertinent to urge your Excellency to declare a state of emergency in pension matters”.

Responding, Governor Makinde assured that his administration would not deny the pensioners what is due to them, stressing that everything that is due to the pensioners under the law would get to them.

“In this journey, there are two parts. Part one started on May 29, 2019. We have drawn a line there that from May 29, 2019, till the end of this administration, whatever is due to you under the law, will be done for you. So, what we are saying is that salaries of workers, pensions and all other statutory payments that the government should pay, we will pay them as at when due. But what had transpired before we came on board, we will roll them together, and look at how to deduct money in installments to offset the arrears. This is what I promised during the campaign. Whatever we can devote to it every month, we will devote it. I must let you appreciate the position we are in Oyo State as of today. There is no hide-and-seek game in what we are doing inside the Governor’s Office. We will make it completely open. I want you to hold me accountable for that”.

“The Federal Allocation to Oyo State every month is N4.5 billion roughly. The wage bill is N5.5billion. So, there is a gap of N1billion. Our monthly internally generated revenue – even historical within one month and four days that we have spent in office, is roughly N2billion. If we take N1billion in the IGR to complete workers’ salaries, it remains N1billion. The contract I met on ground is that the consultant, collecting the IGR for the government, is being paid 20 percent. So, the consultancy fee in the N2billion is about N400 million. So, if we add N1billion to workers’ salaries and pay the consultant N400 million, what we have left is about N500 million to N600 million.

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