Determined to offset the backlog of pensions and gratuities arrears in Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun has announced the increment of the quarterly payment of pension to N1b.
Abiodun made this known while addressing pensioners at an interactive session held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, on Monday.
The governor informed them that his administration met an arrears of over N80b and had since developed ways of defraying it.
“When we came in, we met pension arrears of over N80b. We started paying N500m at a time. We later increased it to N600m monthly. If the previous government had been paying, we would not be where we are today.
“I am expecting about N280bn from the federal government being the money we spent constructing federal roads. I can assure you that as soon as I get that money, I will pay between N10 and N18b as pensions and gratuities”, the governor promised.
Abiodun who disclosed that no gratuity was paid from 2012 up to when he assumed office in 2019, however, announced increment of N15,000 for pensioners who were previously collecting N5,000 monthly pension, wondering how people would survive with such paltry amount of money at the present difficult time.
He added that his administration had devised various ways including providing needed infrastructure, security and enabling environment for more Investments aimed at increasing the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.
While noting that his administration was not unmindful of the plight of the senior citizens, the governor said a special arrangement had been made by the state government to take care of pensioners who need urgent medical treatment.
He, therefore, pleaded for patience and understanding as the government would be making efforts to attend to their issues, pledging to have such interactive session twice a year.
Speaking earlier, the State Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Alhaji Waheed Oloyede, had urged the state government to increase the monthly pension of those still collecting N5,000, just as the N600m quarterly payment for pension was inadequate to pay gratuities.
While calling for the review of pensions in the state in line with what is obtainable at the federal level, Oloyede called for a regular interface between the pensioners and the state government to enable them solve any impending issues.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Local Government Pensioners Association, Pastor Ademoye, appreciated the governor for giving due attention to issues relating to pensioners, assuring the governor of their support at all times.