Metro & Crime

AbdulRazaq met N21bn backlog of LG gratuities, says Pension Board Scribe

The backlog of arrears of local government staff (unpaid) gratuities from 2009 in Kwara State is in the excess of N21 billion.

This was disclosed on Monday by the Executive Secretary Kwara State Local Government Staff Pension Board Smaila Oyelowo, while testifying before the Retired Justice Matthew Adewara-led panel of inquiry into the alleged diversion of N300m monthly from local government funds in the state.

He said: “The present administration inherited N21,516,812,33 as backlog of gratuities from 2009. The N30 million monthly release for gratuities before May 2019 has now been increased to N100 million monthly to gradually defray part of the outstanding debts.

“We approached the present administration to increase the money being released for the payment of gratuities and (that) was expressly granted. Now, on a monthly basis, we are receiving N100 million to settle gratuities. But because of COVID-19 pandemic, we got N60 million in June. In July, this has been raised to N100 million again.

“We only prepare vouchers for the payment of pension for the consultant engaged for its payments while we concentrate on the issues of gratuities. The board does the collection of (details of) new pensioners, upgrades the payroll, and forwards to the consultant for payment.”

The Executive Secretary advocated the adoption of contributory pension scheme as a solution to the issue of backlog.

Chairman of the panel Justice Mathew Adewara reiterated that the panel was on a fact-finding mission to ascertain the allegations of diversion of local government funds in Kwara State, saying it is not putting anyone on trial.

 

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