By: Ade Adeleke
The Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu yesterday pledged that it will continue to give priority to regular payment of pension despite financial constraints.
The governor made the promise on Friday when he received 2020 May Day position paper from the state organized labour leaders who visited him at the Government House Ground, Alagbaka Akure.
The visit followed the cancellation of the worker’s day celebration in the state as a result of ravaging coronavirus pandemic.
Akeredolu said he approved payment of 33% pension increase for retirees in the state due to his strategic love to improve the living standard of the senior citizens.
The governor, who thanked the workers in the state for their understanding and support, assured that his administration will pay the outstanding one month arrears of salaries and pension being the last of the inherited seven months arrears from the previous administration.
He stressed that the arrears will be paid before the end of his first tenure in office, even if necessary to take loan to settle the arrear, adding that if the state income does not increase.
“We will continue to pay pension and gratuities, but is not as consistent as we have loved it to be; I received more than ten messages in a day on this. But I can assure you, we will continue to pay.
“We will try as much as possible to put more money there, so that more people will get their pension and gratuities,” Akeredolu said.
Earlier, the Ondo state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), Comrade Sunday Adeleye had expressed appreciation to the governor for his administration’s approval of 33% pension increase.
“Outstanding gratuities: without being immodest, Your Excellency, your administration has done well in the area of payment of gratuity to retired officers of the Public Service in Ondo State.
“Approval and payment of 33% Pension increase to Ondo State Pensioners.
“However, we pray that you put more effort at further reducing the backlog of Gratuity arrears in both the State and Local Government Pension offices,” Adeleye said.
In an interview with SUNSHINETRUTH, the State Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, (NUP), Comrade Akin Sunday expressed delight with the declaration by Governor Akeredolu, noting that such more funding would lift many pensioners out of untimely death.
The NUP Secretary also commended the leadership of NLC and the State Head of Service, Mr Dare Aragbaiye for be proactive in seeing to the good welfare of retirees in the state.