HomeFeaturesHow We Spent Over ₦9bn to Offset Pension Arrears - Abia Govt

How We Spent Over ₦9bn to Offset Pension Arrears – Abia Govt

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The Government of Abia State has announced that it has spent at least ₦9 billion to offset accumulated pension arrears.  

Mr. Mike Apara who is the Commissioner for Finance, made this known in Umuahia on Wednesday at a press briefing after the meeting of the State Executive Council (SEC).

Apara, however, stated that the amount could still go up because pensioners who had issues during the verification exercise could still be sorted out and paid like others.

He explained that the pension payment covers both the arrears that piled up from 2014 and the balance of half payments the retirees received within the past nine months.

“We had an agreement with the Nigerian Union of Pensioners and His Excellency did exactly what we agreed. And the agreement is to pay the arrears of pensions and that is exactly what the government has done and they (pensioners) are happy about that,” he said.

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The finance commissioner acknowledged that the retirees agreed to forfeit some percentage of the arrears to make it easier for the government to clear the inherited debt to the senior citizens.

“Everybody knows that things are hard, so for a government to even own up and do what others have not done in the past deserves applause,” he said.

According to him, some of the pensioners got as much as N8 million, adding that offsetting the pension arrears was not a mean feat for government.

Earlier the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mr. Okey Kanu, said that the state government is committed to making sure that no retiree was left out in the payment of pension arrears.

Kanu said that a help desk has been set up in the ministry of finance to address all issues arising from the exercise; including those their names might have been omitted.

He said that the Abia State Governor, Mr. Alex Otti, has made it mandatory that henceforth, Abia retirees must be paid their full pensions at the same time civil servants receive their salaries on or before the 28th of every month.

He also announced that government has adopted the contributory pension scheme for its employees to stave off a repeat of the pension crisis of the recent past, which had led to the mountainous arrears.

Governor Otti had in his Easter message to the people Abia directed that payments of monthly salaries and pensions must take precedent above monthly entitlements of political office holders.

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