*Clears arrears with N4.3bn, commits to gratuity
The Edo State government said on Monday that it has expended over N4.3 billion in clearing the backlog of outstanding pension arrears owed about 3,128 pensioners in the state.
It stated that about N25, 047,472,632.77 was spent for monthly pension payment of 13,081 pensioners from November 2016 to May 2020.
According to a Mid-Year Report by the Edo State Pension Bureau, as at June 30, 2020: “The government spent a total of N771,714,393.01 between November and December 2016 for the payment of pensions; N 5,371,283,211.09 was expended in 2017; N6,452,535,649.08 in 2018 and N7,936,681,957.45 in 2019.
“For 2020, the government spent N735,069,623.04; N736,780,760.18; N759,731,334.31; N760,620,948.61; N759,695,333.23 and N763,359,423.02 in January, February, March, April, May and June respectively.”
It was observed that with the setting aside of N200 million monthly, the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has been able to defray arrears of pensions dating back to 1996 up to December 2018 in furtherance of its commitment to the welfare of pensioners.
“The government divided the pensioners into batches 37 to 65 and ensured that the backlog was cleared after physical and documentary verifications. Having completed the payment of outstanding pension arrears, the next steps to be considered in the weeks ahead are harmonisation of pensions, payment of Death Benefits and Gratuity.”
The report further revealed that besides clearing the backlog of pension arrears, an efficient management process has been put in place to fast-track the processing and documentation of retiring officers’ entitlements, thus ensuring a seamless migration from salary payroll to pension payroll. This, it noted, has minimised the incidence of accumulation of pension arrears that had been a burden before the inception of this administration.
The report revealed that workers, who are eligible to register under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), have the benefit of a Group Life Insurance cover that makes provision for beneficiaries of a contributor in the event of death in active service.