Tony John, Port Harcourt
The new Rivers State Pension Reform Bill, yesterday, sailed through legislative proceedings at the House of Assembly, and is now awaiting endorsement of the governor.
Before then, a heated debate had ensued as some legislators called for inclusion of more welfare packages since it was aimed at addressing the plight of retirees.
Chairman of the Committee on Pensions, Head of Service, and Secretary to the State Government, Benebo Anabraba, said the bill, when signed into law, would take into cognisance, those retired up to June 2019.
The bill also addresses the issues bordering on access of funds by families or those overseeing wills of dead retirees, repeal previous pension laws and merged new as well as old laws governing pensions.
Speaker of the House, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, said once the bill becomes functional, pension bodies would collapse into one.
“There will be a unified pension body and it is going to give succour to pensioners.”
He warned civil servants, who manipulate their retirement age to desist from it, disclosing that the new law will catch up with them with heavy penalty.