Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday, presented cheques to pensioners in payment of the gratuities of state government workers who retired in the year 2010 and 2011.
This is coming following the recent biometric verification of the pensioners.
The Governor said in spite of the lean resources accruing to the state, he would do everything possible to ensure that the outstanding gratuities of the senior citizens are paid without delay.
He said, already, pensioners in the state get their monthly pensions same day as other workers, noting that the state gratuity bill which was raised to N60 million from N10 million last year will be further increased to ensure that all outstanding gratuity liabilities are met.
According to him, “when I assumed office on November 12, 2008, I found that people who had retired 12 years earlier, those who retired during the military regime and those who were retired by Igbinedion government in 2000 and those who retired thereafter had not been paid their gratuity.
“My first decision was that I will not be dealing with the arrears, I will start to pay those who retired from the day I assumed office. But on further reflection, I realized that it would not be fair to the average pensioner because they were not responsible for the non-payment.
“So I decided therefore that I would take responsibility to clear all the arrears but the amount involved was so huge and of course, our revenue is not so much.
“Initially, because our resources were small, I said let’s start with at least N10 million and I have increased it up to N60 million by the middle of last year. But I look at the number and I realized that if we continue that way, we may never be able to pay everybody and so, I felt I should do more to look for more money to deal with the issue of pension”.
Oshiomhole continued, “You know, One other decision I took on assumption of office is that I directed the Accountant-General to ensure that those who have pensioned and have been cleared to receive the pension, are paid the same day those who are working are paid, the day I receive my pay, that must be the same day those pensioners are paid”.
“We are doing everything possible to fasttrack the process. I understand that in this hall, we have about 800 persons and we said we are doing it year by year. So we have brought together in this hall, 2010 and 2011.”
“Let me thank you from the button of my heart for your support for this government and for your patience over the period and I assure you that now, the waiting time is over. Gratuities will be paid. Let me also assure you that this gratuity will not be paid piecemeal, not that they will give you 40%, 50% and then you come back another day, no. this present gratuity will be paid in full at once.”
In his vote of thanks, the Chairman, National Union of Pensioners, Edo State Chapter, Comrade Enaruna said, “From the expression on the faces of the Pensioners, the Governor has done well. I can never thank you enough.”
Responding on behalf of the Pensioners, Mr. Omoruyi Etinosa Godspower said, “I express my unfathomable and inexhaustible gratitude to the Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, in fact, this is historic. What we are really happy about is your sincerity.
Mrs. Lily Odion-Ugbesia and Mrs. Egharevba Kudirat also joined other respondents in thanking the Governor on behalf of the benefitting pensioners.
Highpoint was the presentation of cheques of gratuities to some of the pensioners by Governor Adams Oshiomhole.