BY JOSHUA DADA
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has called on the Federal Government to assist state governments across the country in raising bonds to pay the gratuities of state pensioners who voluntarily retired from the service to avoid the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Aregbesola made the call while playing host to the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Mrs. Sharon Ikiazor who paid him a courtesy visit at the state secretariat.
According to him, the state government is not insensitive to the plight of pensioners in the state, explaining that the government is incapacitated to pay the pensioners gratuity which is about N5bn.
He explained that the mass retirement of workers from the state civil service at the end of 2012 because they did not want to join the Contributory Pension Scheme placed a gratuity burden of about N5bn on the state.
Aregbesola noted that the state has been struggling and managing to pay salaries and pension because of the continuous decline of the nation’s economy as a result of the instability in the crude oil market.
The governor said: “It’s a pity we have found ourselves in the situation we are. Because many of them (pensioners) chose to leave the service at the end of 2012 because they did not want to join the contributory pension scheme, the state has a gratuity burden of about N5bn.
Aregbesola said the call for the Federal government intervention in the payment of gratuity for the state pensioners through provision of bonds became imperative because state governments in the country are under serious financial burdens.
According to Aregbesola, the bonds which will be paid back by the state government with ease will go a long way in relieving the states of financial burden, ensure prompt payment to pensioners and as well boosting the nation’s economy as money will be in circulation.
The governor disclosed that a lot of states across the federation who have joined the Contributory Pension Scheme are finding it difficult to offset the huge gratuity of pensioners accumulated as a result of the mass exodus from the service because they did not want to join the new pension regime.
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