Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
The Delta State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, ( PDP) has cleared the air on the contributory pension and gratuity status in the state and assured pensioners, the Local Government Council Workers (LGCs) and Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) Primary School retirees that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration will continue to work hard to take care of pensioners in the state.
A statement by the Delta PDP State Publicity Secretary, Mr Ifeanyi Osuoza, which shed more light on the pension and gratuity situation, quoting exclusively from documents provided by the State Bureau for State Pensions and the Bureau of Local Government Pensions, reads thus:
“Our attention has been drawn to some spurious, misleading misinformation about the real status of our pensioners in the State, creating the erroneous impression that the administration of His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has neglected and abandoned them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
We wish to first state categorically that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, conscious of the challenges surrounding the pension and gratuity payments in the State, immediately set out on assumption of Office as Governor, to put seasoned civil servants and knowledgeable administrators like Mr. Lawson Efenudu and Mr. Ben Igo, to manage the scheme at the State and Local Government levels.
To set the records straight on the pension and gratuity status at the State level, a document, released on September 3rd, 2020, from the Bureau for State Pensions, signed by the Secretary, Mr. Lawson Efenudu, gives an update on the payment of retirees and monthly releases of workers Retirement Savings Account (RSA) and disclosed that the administration of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has been quite empathic towards the plight of workers and retirees in the Delta State Civil Service.
According to the document, the Delta State Government has so far:
* Paid officers on GL 01-06 up to December 2018
* Retirees of SLG 07 and above have been paid up to January 2017
* Government early this year, 2020, graciously approved the lingering harmonization, which in clear terms, reviewed the old N7,500 minimum wage to N18,000 minimum wage regime, effective from April 2020.
* At the moment, the Delta State Government has commenced payment of the harmonized rate, effective from August 2020
* Monthly remittances of employers 10% component to RSA is paid up to date (August 2020)
* And the Bureau interfaces with the Pension fund administrators to ensure quick compliance viz-a-viz payment of retirees benefits.
As for the Local government pensioners, a report by the Bureau of Local Government Pensions (Governor’s Office), issued in September 2020, and signed by the Chairman Mr. Ben Igo, disclosed amongst other things that in accordance with its mandate to pay accrued rights (value of past services) to retirees of the Local Government Councils and Local Government Education Authorities/Primary Schools in Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa approved the increase of their monthly receipt from =N=150,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) to =N=300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira). That is a whopping increase of 100%.
The distribution format is:
LGCs – =N=114,479,053.54, while LGEAs/Primary Schools – =N=185,520,946.46. Total: =N=300,000,000. This payment is being done in batches given the period it covers and the massive number of Primary School teachers employed around 1979 and carried over from the old Bendel State, who all retired at the same period between 2014 and 2016. The payments are done on a first come first served basis to guarantee justice, equity, and fairness to all.
The document further states that payment of Local Government Councils retirees in the Defined old Benefit scheme is presently ongoing and all processed files have been paid. In other words, no retiree or their next of kin is owed his/her entitlements in the old scheme and monthly pensions are done before the end of every month.
The Bureau is also working in conjunction with the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee, JAAC, and the State Government to ensure that the pension backlog, which is also a national challenge is addressed and resolved.
By the way, the documents quoted here are very easily accessible and we advise all doubting Thomases and those who will never read to be educated, updated, or to verify the facts and information before jumping into the public space with their garbage of lies and misinformation, to find time to read them and confirm what we have admitted here, beyond any doubts whatsoever.
The Delta State PDP and His Excellency, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, the Executive Governor of Delta State, are very proud and appreciative of the commitment and dedication with which our pensioners and retirees served our dear State in their active years. Their courage and resilience, especially during the challenging period after the creation of Delta State, laid the foundation and set up the building blocks for the robust, functionally vibrant, and operationally dynamic civil service we enjoy today and concerted effort has been made to ensure that they get their full entitlements and benefits in retirement.
All Delta lives, including those of our retired civil servants and elderly citizens, matter to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and it is rather unfortunate that instead of commiserating with families who have lost loved ones, some wicked people have shamelessly chosen to exploit their misfortune by playing politics with the passing of some of our aged citizens. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all Delta families who have lost loved ones, especially at this period when we are all battling to contain and curtail the spread of the deadly Corona Virus pandemic, which has claimed so many lives and does not discriminate between rich and poor, young and old.
We want to once again reassure our distinguished elderly citizens, who have served at the State and Local Government Levels meritoriously, that Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is working hard to ensure that you enjoy the fruits of your labor in retirement. We urge you to disregard rumour mongers and those impostors and impersonators whose stock in trade is to raise false alarm and spread fear and panic with their misleading tales of misinformation.
Mr Ifeanyi Okowa, ” has not only set up the structures to make sure that the pension Bureaus are properly managed and administered, but he has also ensured prompt payment of verified pensioners across all levels, increased the monthly payments by 100%, and harmonised the payments in accordance with the existing minimum wage regime, amongst other pragmatic, result-oriented measures. This is the hallmark of an administration that has the interest of pensioners at heart and we promise we will not let you down as we continue to build a Stronger Delta for all Deltans”
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