Enugu State governor, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has announced plans to adopt the contributory pension system as a means of ensuring that retirees from the state and local government service are better taken care of upon retirement. Governor Ugwuanyi, who was speaking during a meeting with thousands of retirees and pensioners at the Lion Building, Government House, Enugu, yesterday, said the Enugu State government, under his watch, is determined to plug all loopholes in the retirees welfare system and enthrone a regime of simplicity and transparency that will ease the burden of chasing after pensions by senior citizens while also ridding the system of corruption. The governor revealed that a committee that will work out the modalities towards the adoption of the contributory pension scheme has commenced work, promising that implementation will take place soon afterwards.
In his emotional presentation during the meeting, the governor revealed that the state’s pension bill has risen to over N500million per month, up from an average of N200 million under previous administration, adding that the transparent approach by his administration has ensured the capture of a larger number of retired civil servants in the pensions safety net.
“Today, we run a pension bill of over N500 million every month. This means that for each year, we pay an estimated N6 billion to our senior citizens. It also means that by the end of our first term in office, this bill will be around N24 billion. But we are happy that in spite of the huge burden on the government, our efforts have been making life a lot more meaningful for our senior citizens,” the governor said. He lamented the situation where some retirees have been unable to receive their monthly pensions and blamed it on the failure of those affected to be captured in the biometric registration programme embarked upon by the government in 2016 but expressed the willingness of the state government to create another window to enable those that were not initially captured to be added to the data base.
While urging the retirees to take advantage of the new window to properly be documented, he praised the pensioners for their unflinching support and prayers for his administration and expressed the readiness of his government to continue to work for the overall welfare of the citizens of the state. Earlier in his solidarity address, Enugu State chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) Comrade Damian Udeani praised Governor Ugwuanyi for his unwavering support for the welfare of workers in the state, stating that workers in the employ of the Enugu State government have become the toast of others in other states. He reminded the gathering that the administration of Governor Ugwuanyi, upon assumption of office, had cleared a backlog of 15 months salaries owed to employees in the local government system and urged the governor to do all within his powers to ensure that the hiccups in the pension payment system are cleared in order to ease the burden on the senior citizens.