From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
Inspite of persistent rift between the Imo State Government and pensioners in the state over delays in the payment of their pension and gratuity, Gov. Hope Uzodimma has announced the process of integrating the state’s pensioners with the National Contributory Pensions Scheme.
Uzodimma disclosed this over the weekend at a meeting with the leadership of Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Imo State Chapter at the Government House, Owerri, noting that pensions and workers salary have been automated to make day-to-day running of government easy.
The governor reiterated his earlier stand that pensions and salaries are not negotiable, insisting that “what brought the recent delay in the payment is the discovery of overwhelming fraud, discrepancies and irregularities resulting from salary padding, over bloated and double pensions among other sharp practices”.
He also announced the discovery of pensioners receiving money above their retirement entitlements, and some with even amount that are unaccounted.
Expressing bitterness, the governor said the names of people who earn above N330 million per annum, as pension, will be made public.
According to him “government will no more make use of Micro Finance Banks for payments of salaries and pensions, because they are not clearing house for BVN holders,” insisting that henceforth the pensioners will be paid directly.
Governor Uzodimma further revealed that out of 13,800 primary school teachers, only 9,000 were found to be real and that only primary and secondary school teachers who have been verified and confirmed to be employees of government, will receive salary.
He advised people playing politics with pension and salaries to desist from doing so as he was determined to dismantle “the cabal” that milk the state dry through such processes.
“Government has decided to automate all payments to enable it migrate to the contributory pension’s scheme” he said.
In their presentations earlier, the chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Austin Chilakpu, eulogized on the payment of salary and pensions and appealed to him to look into the staggering illegal deductions as well as order for regular payment of pensioners as an administrative priority.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Imo State, Dr.Josiah Ugochukwu, requested for the harmonization of pension to resolve omissions and ensure proper pension administration.