The recent implementation of the six percent and 15 percent increase in pension of retirees in Ekiti State has increased annual pension bill of the state by over N200 million.
The Chairman of the state Pension Commission, Chief Oluwole Ojo, who made this known in Ado-Ekiti, southwest Nigeria, described government’s gesture as a display of Governor Fayemi’s commitment to the general well being of the
people, stressing that the Governor, in his quest to eradicate poverty in the state, is particularly passionate about the elderly citizens in the state.
According to Ojo, the sum of N228. 225 million that the state expended on pension monthly has been increased to N236.506 million while that of the local governments has swelled to N164.3 million from the previous N154.7 million monthly bill.
The Chairman said that the implementation was in spite of its financial implication on the meager resources of the state, stressing that the Governor’s approval to pay the increase was further commendable given the hindsight that the state receives the second to the least amount from the federation account.
Ojo said he was however not surprised that Governor Fayemi approved the increase knowing his pedigree, stressing that it is on record that the Governor blazed the trail in the entire West African sub region on his now popular social security scheme for the elderly.
The Chairman added that it was natural for a governor who takes it upon himself to cater for poor elderly citizens through the social security scheme to also show compassion for those that had meritoriously served the state.
He recalled that the Governor also settled a substantial amount out of the N2.8 billion gratuity that was supposed to be the share of the Federal Government to reduce the sufferings of innocent retirees after setting up a committee to look into the issue of unpaid gratuities of the retirees who are indigenes of the state that were due for the gratuity from the FG.
Ojo urged pensioners whose bank accounts are yet to be credited to exercise patience and liaise with their respective banks in order to sort out some teething problems identified on issue of old and new account numbers.
Commending the leadership of the Ekiti State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners for its support and contribution towards effecting the payment of the increase, the board Chairman said his commission worked with the union to work out the modality for effecting the increase.
He assured that details of all arrears would be sorted out and modalities for payment fashioned out.
Ojo called on the pensioners to reciprocate government’s gesture, saying that the success of the second term bid of Governor Fayemi would guarantee the continued payment of the largesse and the delivery of other dividends of democracy to the people.