Zulum Approves N12b to Clear 4,862 Unpaid Retirees
By Sadiq Abubakar
Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, on Tuesday announced the release of N12 billion to clear gratuities owed to 4,862 retirees who left the state and local government civil service from 2013 to 2017.
Before now, N3 billion was released in June and September 2019, to clear gratuities of 1,684 retirees who left the civil service between 2013 to 2019, at lower ranks, mostly clerks, drivers and messengers.
Governor Zulum flagged off the payment with symbolic presentation of cheques to some retirees on Tuesday at the government house in Maiduguri. He explained that the fund was obtained through a loan provided by the Zenith Bank.
The Governor noted that while N12 billion was not enough to settle backlog of gratuities, appreciable number of retirees almost 5,000 retirees will be cleared this time around. He appealed to those who will not part of the N12b batch to be patient as Government is working on to settle all gratuities as soon as possible.
“The accumulated backlog of gratuities over the years has been worrisome to successive administrations. We are making frantic effort to settle all outstanding gratuities and pension arrears of our retired Civil servants.
“We decided to take far reaching decision to reduce the waiting by retired state and local civil servants in the State. We hope this N12b will reduce poverty and stimulate the economy,” Zulum said.
Speaking on issue of pension, the governor explained that from May 2019 to date, a total of 770 complaints were received out of which, 650 were rectified and already enjoying their pension while awaiting their arrears to be paid soon.
Zulum also recalled that the state government recently completed the rehabilitation of Musa Usman Secretariat, including provision of furniture.
The Governor also assured of his administration’s commitment to sustain the payment of retirement benefits to pensioners as at when due.
Zulum announced that Government has commenced the automatic migration of retirees from salary to pension since May 2020 and so far, over 900 retirees have benefited from the process.
Our correspondent explained that payment of gratuities has been particularly problematic across Nigeria given the fact that, gratuities are lump sum of money which employers are lawfully required to be given retirees as reward for many years of service.
The amount mostly come in millions for each retiree to use in investment after many years of work. Retirees are entitled to one off payment of gratuities and monthly pensions, which are generated from contributions made by employees and employers during working years.
Monthly pensions are normally less of salaries workers were paid during their working years.