Nasarawa State Government says, it has earmarked the sum of N70 million monthly for the servicing of backlog of gratuities to pensioners in the state.
The State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Assoc. Prof. Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana made this known while addressing a group of town planners, who were in Lafia for their Mandatory Continuing Professional Development course.
He explained that, what the governor did immediately he came on board was to ensure that the pension issues that has subjected pensioners to penury was fixed, so that, when workers retired from service, they shouldn’t suffered.
Kana said, according to Sule, his idea of retired persons, as one who worked in the private sector, in Dangote precisely and has retired alongside others are, and “now enjoying in the Bahamas, some Obudu, was because they have made a sizeable contribution to their pension contributory scheme.
“So when he was coming to the state, he expected is the same thing he will fine here, but he came and discovered a tattered pensions system where pensioners will have to beg to get their pensions.”
He said, the governor has already directed that the pension issue be tackled and efforts are seriously on to normalize the situation, as pensioners in the state now gets their pensions regularly in the first stage.
“We also set aside a minimum of seventy million (70 million) every month so that we continue to service backlog of gratuities. We are paying pensions regularly and we are also paying backlog of gratuities that have not been paid, some of them right from the time the state was under Plateau State.
“We are talking about almost N40 billion accumulated gratuities liability, but then, the governor has been trying his best and we are reducing it gradually.
“For the local government, it is quite unfortunate. The system as it is, you have to fix and fortified the system first before you get them to do anything meaningful. At the moment effort are been made to do that.
“The second stage will be, to reform the pension system, so that, those who are nearly retiring now, the pension reform law will now be implemented, so that it will graduate into contributory pension scheme, where it is what you contribute, is what you get.
“Otherwise, in the next 5-10 years, the state will not be able to pay these pensions as it is, except if we will take the entire money to pay pension. What is happening in the local government is unfortunate.
If they are going to pay pension 100% every month, which means they will not able to pay salaries 100%. If they pay salaries 100%, they can be able to pensions. Is a pull and push situation in the local government. So, for them to be able to pay pension for one month in full, they have to accumulate the pension contribution of 15% for three to four months, before they could pay one month.
And if we continue as a state without transiting to the pension reform system, we are likely to face the same challenge.
He assured that, government is very much concern about the plights of pensioners and pledged to bring the ugly pension regime to end.