When Governor Ifeanyi Okowa came into office in 2015, his administration inherited about N100 billion in unpaid pensions under the contributory pension scheme — which is now being paid off by the State Government.
The accumulated debts under the contributory pension scheme in Delta State is as a result of the operational backlogs in the scheme. By default, the contributory pension scheme backdates the entire period of retirement as opposed to the date on which the civil servant joins the scheme. What this means is that if the Civil Servant has been retired for 10 years but joins the scheme after 9 years, the scheme stipulates that the government must contribute for the entire 9 years of the civil servant’s retirement which runs into billions of naira.
The Delta State Government entered into the contributory pension scheme in 2007, but no remuneration was made for past services from 2007 to 2015, which amounted to over N100 billion in accrued pensions owed by the State Government. As a result of the financial burden inherited under the contributory pension scheme, 18 state governments in Nigeria out of 26 that enlisted in the scheme were forced to withdraw, leaving only eight state governments, including Delta State.
With over 50 thousand regularly paid workers in the state civil service, Delta State has continued to run the contributory pension scheme. Despite two recessions and one pandemic over the years, Governor Okowa has consistently spent over N1.3 billion naira monthly in servicing pension obligations to retirees in Delta State.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has also consistently assisted Local Government Councils to pay their pensioners. Since 2015, his administration has increased the N150m assistance to N300m & later to N500m monthly to help fast-track the payment of debts owed by Local Government Councils.
In July 2022, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration released over 40 billion Naira for the payment of retirees in Delta state’s public service. In November 2022, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa released an additional sum of N5 billion for the payment of retirees in State. N2.5 billion was released for the payment of pension arrears for state pensioners while N2.5 billion was also released as a grant for the payment of Local Government and primary school retirees.
According to the authorities in the State Pension Bureau, as of July 2022, Governor Okowa’s administration has cleared the pension debts accrued over the years from level 1 to 7 junior retirees up till 2020. While the entitlements of level 8 and above senior pensioners had been handled to 2017.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is fully aware of the plight of the pensioners in Delta State and will continue to defray these backlog payments until his last day in office and also ensure that on transition day, the debt profile of the state would be almost insignificant.
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