From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
Kebbi State Government has disclosed that it has spent over N20 billion on the payment of retirement benefits, from 2015 to date as part of the current administration to improve the welfare of workers.
The state Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mamuda Muhammad Warra disclosed this while briefing newsmen over the efforts of current administration to offset the backlogs of gratuities of pensioners inherited by Governor Abubakar Atiku Badugu.
The Commissioner stated that, “it is on record that, the state Government met a liability of N4,376,242,726.93, which was not only liquidated, but additional sum was provided, which beefed up to N20,052,000,000.00 Billion, for payment of retirement benefits”.
Warra recalled that, the latest of such approvals granted by the Governor was N3 Billion, that will significantly offset the retirement benefits of all those who retired up to 2018.
According to him, “Specifically, out of a total number of 1,098 retirees, 958 retirees whose retirement benefits range from N5 Million and below will be paid 100 percent.
“This indicates that, at the end of the exercise , the State Government will only be left with the burden of those who retired from 2019 upward.”
He explained that, the state government was also determined to continue the monthly savings that will seek to address new retirees.
“In the same vein , Kebbi State under this administration has maintained simultaneous payment of pension along with salary.
On the payment of Annual Increment, Warra stated that, the Ministry of Finance was at no time directed to stop payment of annual increment arguing that, the Ministry of Finance provides monthly returns which reflects , salary, promotion etc.
His words : ” On the issue of the non payment of Leave Grant, it should be noted that, since the inception of this administration, leave grant has been regularly paid to Civil Servants.
” On consequential adjustment, it will be recalled that, Kebbi State Government is the first to implement minimum wage and therefore, had fulfilled the necessary condition for minimum wage including consequential adjustment.
He said a committee was set up on the issue of consequential adjustment.
” For this reasons, it is necessary for the organized labour to recognize salient appreciable efforts put in by Government to address various agitations made.
” Government is not unmindful of the universal predicaments facing the Civil Servants and is determined to appropriately and affordable to address them.
” However, we note with consternation the lack of concern, labour has exhibited to all salient efforts made for the betterment of the service. This industrial action is therefore, uncalled for and inimical to the ethics of exact law regulating industrial action.
” More so, they went into industrial action while negotiation is in progress.
Happily the strike action has been suspended ‘, he said.