BENIN CITY: Edo State Governor Mr.Godwin Obaseki has assured the State and Local Government Pensioners of his administration’s willingness to tackle issues of unpaid pensions and gratuity.
He gave this assurance when he received a delegation from the Edo chapter of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) at Government House in Benin yesterday.
Obaseki, said his administration was currently working out modalities to ascertain the pension crises in the state with a view to ensuring that pensioners got their entitlement as soon as they retired from active service.
“I assure you that I understand your pains and challenges and that I am on your side. The issue of unpaid pension is an accumulated problem and by the grace of God we will resolved it. That is why I insisted that we must implement the contributory Pension Scheme in the state”.
He said his administration started implementing the contributory pension Scheme since January 2017. “From January this year we implemented the scheme to ensure regularity and accountability of pensioners’ contributions”, he said.
Speaking on the inability of Local Governments to offset pension arrears of its staff, Obaseki said his administration had banned illegal collection of taxes and levies by non government agents.
He said a new Revenue collection policy put in place by his administration would ensure that revenues were properly accrued to local governments. He intimated the union members of his approval to the deduction of one per cent pension dues as requested by the union.
He added “we want to address the issue of people who have retired and yet to start receiving pensions before we work out plans for harmonization of pensions”.
Earlier, the Edo chairman of NUP, Mr. Pullen Noruwa commended the governor for the recently held Verification exercise for pensioners in the state.
Noruwa said the verification process was well organized and the welfare of pensioners was given due consideration during the process.
He thereafter appealed to the governor to resolve the lingering challenges of unpaid pension arrears and gratuity for state and LG owned pensioners requesting a 5 and 16 per cent increment of pensions and the harmonization of pension for some of its members.