To assuage the suffering of pensioners in the state and clear up a backlog of arrears that accrued over two decades, the Edo State Government has released about N430 million through the Joint Account and Allocation Committee (JAAC) in the last two months.
In a statement, the state government said the sum was released as part of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s phased approach in offsetting pension arrears, which accrued over a 20-year period.
According to the statement, “In August, Edo JAAC allocated N212, 879,888 for settlement of pension arrears, while in September, the sum of N212, 879,000 was set aside for the same purpose out of the N2, 868, 174, 276 that accrued to the 18 local government councils as revenue.”
“Efforts are ongoing to harmonise the pension system in the state. We want to ensure that those at the local councils enjoy smooth transition to the new pension scheme. This is so that they are on the same scheme with their counterparts in the employ of the state government.”
Noting that the plight of pensioners was top priority for the administration, the government said, “The sum is for the settlement of arrears of pensioners in local government areas.
The pensioners have been protesting for a while and we assured them that we have an elaborate plan to address their concerns. So, it is in this light that we have made arrangement that part of JAAC disbursement addresses pension arrears.”
The government added that it has been responsive to the suffering of pensioners, many of whom have sacrificed a better part of their life in service to the state, noting, “We are touched by the suffering of pensioners.
It is regrettable that we have to deal with these issues, because, as a government, we value the dignity of work.
“We hope to continue to approach this issue with the phased approach and are confident that in no distant time, the state wouldn’t have to deal with issues such as this anymore,” the government added.