Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
Retirees from Ebonyi State local government areas are being owed over N9bn in pension arrears and gratuities.
The Executive Secretary of the Local Government Staff Pensions Board, Mr Emeka Nwonu, stated this on Friday in Abakaliki, capital of the state.
Mr Nwonu spoke during a courtesy visit of the Board to Governor Francis Nwifuru.
He said the figure was arrived at following an audit he ordered on assumption of office.
According to him, 4, 930 local government pensioners are alive and awaiting there pensions while 1, 145 others are dead but owed retirement benefits.
He said: “The breakdown of their unpaid benefits are as follows: the initial pension arrears stands at N648,710,046.98, unpaid gratuity is N6,956,264,912.02.
“Unpaid death benefits (arrears) is N746,948,420.76 and unpaid death benefits (Gratuity) is N673,150,046.44. Grand total is N9,025,073,426.20 bn”
He expressed optimism that the outstanding arrears and pensions as well as the recommendations in his report will receive the Governor’s usual favourable considerations.
“It will go a long way in solving the problems associated with the payment of the initial pensions and gratuities to the Local Government and UBEB pensioners,” he said.
Responding, Governor Nwifuru directed that payment of gratuities should henceforth be on monthly basis.
The Governor advised retiring civil servants to endeavor to process their retirement papers on time to enable them collect their benefits immediately after retirement.
“Payment of gratuities is now on monthly basis, if you have not been paid pension, you will not be qualified to receive gratuity.
“Therefore I advise you to always proceed on 3 months retirement leave to enable you process your papers so that you will be paid immediately. We are not interested in owning,” he said.
He commended the Executive Secretary of the Board for taking proactive steps to reposition the Board.