Posted by News Express | 24 November 2016 | 2,537 times
The Imo state government has promised to clear all pension arrears owed to pensioners in the state up to December 2016.
The state Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, disclosed this while addressing journalist in Owerri the Imo State capital, he said the government will negotiate with the pensioners to show a bit of sacrifice and understanding as the state government intends to reduce the payment of some senior level pensioners by some percentage due to the present economic downturn.
The governor says the state government has resolved to pay pension arrears owed to pensioners in the state up to December.
He lamented over the continuous rise in the pension wage bill in the state which he attributed to the lack of record keeping over the years and increase in number of ghost pensioners.
He however appealed to pensioners in the state to show some little sacrifice and understanding as the state government intends to reduce the payment of some senior level pensioners by some percentage to accommodate the full payment of junior cadre pensioners due to the present economic downturn.
“Agreed we have recession, we do not owe our workers till date, we have paid salaries up to date. We do not owe any worker.
“The only issues we have, is the pension arrears, which we intend to clear the 12 months and 2 years pension arrears as the case maybe.
”Arising from lack of records and all others. We are trying to clear all pensions up till December.
“However we are negotiating with the pensioners on the payment which means that they might need to show a little understanding and sacrifice, some may be paid 100%, while some maybe paid 40% depending as the case maybe.
“Our entire salary structure has a challenge because our salary structure is quite high. We are the highest paid in the whole South East and the South south and major parts of this country, so this has been the challenge we have but we are resolving that gradually.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Pensioners Imo state chapter, led by Comrade Gideon Ezeji, is rejecting in its totality the plan by the government to reduce payment of some pensioners in the state, he insisted that if the government fails to pay up all the pension arrears by 100 per cent the union will embark on a statewide protest by December 12, 2016.
“We say capital No to any partial payment of pensions and gratuities, the proposal to pay 40% and write off the 60% of pension arrears is unacceptable to Imo state pensioners, the pension administration has been disorganized by Imo state government, constitutionally retired primary school teachers and local government pensioners are paid by the local government pensions board while civil pensioners are paid by the office of the accountant general of the state, we call on the government to use the constitutional office of the accountant general and local government pensions board payment of pensions and gratuities, we want to warn any pensioner who deviates from the resolution of not accepting 40% of arrears of pensions.
The State government says it has planned to call a meeting for negotiations with the State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners on how best to solve the problem, hoping after the meeting both parties will arrive at a reasonable conclusion before December 12th the proposed day for the protest. (Channels TV)
•Photo shows Gov. Okorocha.
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