Following the approval given by the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, to use the N1.5billion Paris Club refund to liquidate part of the outstanding pension arrears due to local government retirees, all local government pensioners have been asked to report for verification and payment.
In a statement issued by the Commissioner of Local Government and Community Affairs, Hon. Jimoh Ijegbai, the state government directed “all local government pensioners to go to the local government where they retired, from Monday May 7 – Wednesday 9, 2018 with all relevant documents for verification to enable us commence immediate payment of their arrears as approved by the Governor of Edo State.”
At the 2018 Workers’ Day celebration in Benin City, last Tuesday, Obaseki told workers in the state that he has instructed that all outstanding salaries and pension arrears due to local government staff and pensioners be paid before the end of the year.
“To ensure that this happens, I have approved that the sum of N1.5billion from the Paris Club refund should be used to liquidate part of the outstanding N2.5billion pension arrears due to local government employees,” the governor said.
While assuring the workers that the balance will be paid before the end of 2018, he said the goal of his administration “is to ensure that local governments move into the Contributory Pensions Scheme next year, thus putting an end to the pension crises.”
Noting that extensive reforms have been carried out to make the local governments more responsive to the needs of the people, he said, “We are great full to the Almighty for the very peaceful and successful local government elections. With the new chairpersons and elected officials, we are now poised to change the future and fortune of local government in Nigeria.”
Obaseki explained that: “We have commenced payment of pension and gratuity arrears as far back as the year 2000. So far, we have paid batches 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41. As we resolve a few lingering problems, other Batches will be paid though I must note that resources are limited.
“We have meetings with retirees every two weeks and we have an open line of communication to avoid misunderstandings. Our commitment is to make our retirees that have laboured so much for our present and future, feel comfortable.
“In line with my promise last year to resolve all outstanding pension issues, I have directed that the amount used for paying outstanding pension arrears be doubled by 100 per cent from N100 million monthly to N200million.”