Pensioners in Oyo State have appealed to the state government to find a way to pay their N62.5bn pension arrears.
The retirees who thanked the State governor for donating his monthly salary to the purse of the pensioners in the state, asked him to do more to offset the pension arrears within a reasonable time frame.
The Pensioners disclosed that the amount represents arrears owed retirees between 8 to 56 months.
The pensioners said that the last administration in the state accumulated arrears of 56 months unpaid pensions and gratuities owed retired primary school teachers and local government pensioners in the state.
The pensioners made the call when about 1,000 members of the National Union of Pensioners in the state led by Abimbola Abolade and Olusegun Abatan, acting chairman and state secretary respectively, staged a solidarity rally to the Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan.
While speaking on behalf of the pensioners, Abatan also called for the upward review of the monies allocated to settling off the arrears in the interest of the retirees, saying, “It is regrettable to inform Your Excellency that gratuities of workers, who retired in the year 2012 are just being paid in 2019. We strongly appeal that the monthly allocation to the Ministry of Establishment be increased to N500m monthly to enable prompt payment of gratuities and pensions.
“If you add all these arrears together, government’s indebtedness to Oyo State pensioners alone would be in the neighbourhood of N100bn. It is thus pertinent to urge Your Excellency to declare a state of emergency in pension matters.”
Governor Makinde in response to the pensioners said his administration would give everything that was due to the pensioners under the law to them as and when due.
He said, “In this journey, there are two parts. Part one started on May 29, 2019. We have drawn a line there that from May 29, 2019, till the end of this administration, whatever is due to you under the law will be done for you.
“So, what we are saying is that salaries of workers, pensions and all other statutory payments that government should pay, we will pay them as at when due.
“But what had transpired before we came on board, we will roll them together, and look at how to deduct money in installments to offset the arrears. This is what I promised during the campaign. Whatever we can devote to it every month, we will devote it.
“I must let you appreciate the position we are in Oyo State, as of today. There is no hide-and-seek game in what we are doing inside the Governor’s Office. We will make it completely open. I want you to hold me accountable for that.
“The Federal Allocation to Oyo State every month is N4.5bn roughly. The wage bill is N5.5 bn. So, there is a gap of N1bn. Our monthly internally generated revenue — even historical within one month and four days that we have spent in office, is roughly N2bn. If we take N1bn in the IGR to complete workers’ salaries, it remains N1bn.
“The contract I met on ground is that the consultant, collecting the IGR for the government, is being paid 20 per cent. So, the consultancy fee in the N2bn is about N400m. So, if we add N1bn to workers’ salaries and pay the consultant N400m, what we have left is about N500 to N600m. These exclude allocations to Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“But don’t be scared, we have put all these factors into consideration before we decided that God should use us for the people of Oyo State. I told you the state of things so that you can appreciate our position. We are ready and able to tackle the challenges,” Makinde assured.