Pensioners in Oyo call for state of emergency over N62.5b arrears
Written by COMFORT 95.1FM on July 4, 2019
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 sixty three billion naira 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 five hundred million naira 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 one hundred billion naira.
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 four point five billion naira roughly.
The wage bill is five point five billion naira. So, there is a gap of one billion naira.
Our monthly internally generated revenue – even historical within one month and four days that we have spent in office, is roughly two billion naira.
If we take in the IGR to complete workers’ salaries, it remains one billion naira.
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 two billion naira is about four hundred million naira. So, if we add one billion naira to workers’ salaries and pay the consultant four hundred million naira, what we have left is about five hundred million naira to six hundred million naira.
These exclude allocations to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs. But don’t be scared, we have put all these factors into consideration before we decided that God should use us for the people of Oyo State.
I told you the state of things so that you can appreciate our position. We are ready and able to tackle the challenges,” the governor assured.