The government of Osun State, on Monday, once again assured that concerted efforts are being made to clear pension arrears as soon as possible, calling on member of the public, especially retired civil servants and pensioners, not to allow themselves to be used to score cheap political points by those who are more interested in heating up the polity rather than the welfare of the people and the wellbeing of the state.
The government disclosed that although the huge backlog of contributory pensions inherited by the administration cannot be offset overnight, Oyetola has paid over Forty Billion Naira on pension and gratuities since becoming governor.
This followed reports of the circulation of a message mobilising retired civil servants for a protest at the gate of the Osun State Secretariat on Tuesday morning.
This is also coming after a recent release of the sum of Seven Hundred and Eight Million Naira (N 708,000,000) by the governor, to offset pension and gratuity arrears.
But in a statement signed by the Head of Service, Dr Festus Olowogboyega Oyebade, Osun government described the move as premature given recent commitments made by the government on the matter.
“The public is to note that Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun, released and paid Eight Hundred and Sixty-Seven Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty-Six Thousand Naira (N 867,836,000) for the settlement of bonds for retirees.
“These bonds were collected on Friday, 12th November, 2021 by the retirees at Local Governments and Ptimary Schools in the ratio of Two Hundred and Sixty-Three Million Naira (N 263,000,000) for Local Government Workers, and Six Hundred and Four Million Naira (N 604,000,000) for Primary School Teachers.
“The Governor has just released another sum of Seven Hundred and Eight Million Naira (N 708,000,000) to offset old and contributory pensions of retired officers at the State level”, the statement read in part.
The Government insisted that Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has been devoted to the welfare of retired civil servants since coming into office in November 2018
Osun government, while also sympathising with retired civil servants that were yet to collect their terminal benefits, appealed for patience, assuring that the Oyetola-led government has at no point trivialised their welfare.
It continued: “It must be noted that this administration inherited backlog of pensions dating to year 2016 running to billions of naira, and it has been defraying the debt every month consistently without ceasing. The present administration has paid over N40bn on pension and gratuities since it came into office in November 2018 out of the inherited backlog.
“The administration has continued to release on a monthly basis about a billion naira to take care of pension and gratuities of retired workers under the old and new schemes. While government sympathises with those that have not collected their terminal benefits, it must be noted that this huge backlog of arrears of contributory pensions cannot be paid to all retirees at once. Efforts are in top gear to clear all the arrears as soon as possible.
“An advisory committee set up at the instance of pensioners meet every month, and another meeting comes up at the end of this month”, the statement added.