As part of the efforts to ameliorate the sufferings of pensioners, the Kaduna state Government has presented cheques worth over 6.7 Billion Naira to retired civil servants who have served the state meritoriously.
Speaking during the flag off ceremony for distribution of cheques worth over 600 Million Naira to the 1080 retired local government workers at the State House in Kawo, Governor Muktar Yero said his administration has paid a total of 4.7 billion as backlog of retirement benefits for the State Civil Servants dating back to seven years. He explained that the government was saving about 350 million Naira monthly to settle arrears of retirement benefits inherited by his administration.
He also stated that the state had increased its monthly contribution of 13.03 million naira to 65 million Naira, which is about 400% increase.
While pledging the commitment of the State Government to ensuring prompt payment of pensions and other retirement benefits, Governor Yero apologised to the retirees and next of-Kin of dead beneficiaries over the delay in payment of their entitlements, and assured them that his administration would do everything possible to enhance their livelihood and those yet to be retired.
He also announced that government will soon commence a more comprehensive Pre-retirement Skills and Entrepreneurship Training Programme, to equip retirees with viable means of livelihood after service.
The flag-off ceremony marked the commencement of presentation of cheques to 1,080 beneficiaries from the 23 Local Governments Areas who had served the state and retired between 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 to 2012.
It was a happy moment for the senior citizens when they filed out one by one to receive their entitlements from the governor, some of them having spent up to three years without collecting their retirement benefits.
The amount covers accrued pension, arrears of outside pensioners, arrears of verified pensioners, death Benefit and retirement benefit.
Some of the beneficiaries expressed appreciation for the payment of the backlog of the pension and gratuity arrears while commending the modalities adopted by the Yero administration towards sources for pension funds.
The decision to clear all backlogs of pensions and gratuities of retired civil servants, according to Governor Yero, was to fast-track the payment and reduce huge pension liabilities that had accrued over the years.
It is expected that the wealth of experience that this pensioners have acquired over the years in service is an added advantage in terms of initiating viable ventures with the money.
In line with the expectations, the governor said: “It is important for them to diversify other means of generating income and not to rely solely on their monthly pension”.