• Tony Igele

Edo To Commence Contributory Pension Scheme In January 2017.

Edo to commence contributory pension scheme Jan. 2017

BENIN CITY – Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo has expressed the readiness of the State Government to commence contributory pensions scheme for state workers with effect from 1st January, 2017 as a way to deal with the challenges associated with payment of pensions and gratuities once and for all, explaining that by the end of his tenure, the State Government would have resolved all the problems about payment of pensions and gratuities.

Speaking while receiving the executive members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Edo State Chapter at the Government House on Tuesday, Governor Godwin Obaseki said, “The issue of pension is one that we will deal with. So, in this year’s budget, what I have said is, effective January 1, all of us will now move into the contributory pension arrangement, so that by the grace of God, the next generation of teachers will not go through what you are going through now. That is, the pension money is already there. So, the day they finish, it’s automatic. You know the money that is converted to annuities, there are liabilities, the bulk sum is paid to them; then, it’s automatic.”

“I was part of that arrangement when Obasanjo set up the pension committee to review the pension system. So, by the grace of God, effective January 1, we are cutting everybody over, and we have made a provision in the budget for that monthly contribution. I think the contribution monthly is 15%; 10% on behalf of government and 5% on behalf of you. So, of everything you earn, we put 15% aside every month until you retire. And that money is being managed,” he revealed.

Governor Obaseki said government has already earmarked the sum of N6 billion for the pension scheme, “But for the legacy issues, for people who were not qualified to cut over, because this is not going to affect people who are five years and above in service, we also have provided money because this is a problem which has accumulated over a period of time. It is not a problem you can resolve over-night. But because of our commitment, we said, let’s put some money aside. And in this year, we are putting about N6 billion. We will not solve all of it, but it’s a good start. If we are able to put this kind of amount every year for the next five years, we will clean out all arrears, both gratuities and pensions. So, it is a plan we have and by the grace of God, by the end of my tenure, we would have addressed if not resolved the pension problems totally.”

The Governor explained that human element is being given attention, “If you listened to my budget yesterday, I did emphasize that we want to pay more attention to the human element, the social issues in our society because in a recession like this, it’s the human beings that are most affected. So, we cannot ignore their plight. We want to build infrastructure, we want to do many things, but people must live first before they us infrastructure. So, that is one area we are concerned about, and thanks to our President Buhari. He is also concerned about that, and one of his strategies is how to spend our way out of recession in a very sensible and logical manner.”

He appreciated the support teachers gave him during the last election, “I am truly grateful to you and your members for the unprecedented support that all of you gave to me during the electioneering. That I am Governor today, that was largely determined by you. So, if I succeed, it is your success. So, I am not surprised that you came to pledge your loyalty because you elected me to be your Governor, and I know that you will do everything to make sure that I succeed as Governor. For that I want thank you.”

He assured the teachers that government will intervene in the flooding at the Teachers House, “I understand firsthand the challenge of the flood at Teachers’ House, and it is going to be a priority item for us. We have to speak with HITECH this week. Let us see whether they have done the design, and I can assure you it will be a priority for us.”

Governor Obaseki assured them that he will sustain the policy which enables teachers to rise to grade level 17 in the state service and become permanent secretaries.

Also speaking the Acting Chairman of the Edo State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Iyalomhe Akhagbemhe congratulated the Governor on his election and inauguration as Governor of Edo State, “It is with great delight and fulfillment that we have come today to once again congratulate Your Excellency on your electoral victory at the September 2016 gubernatorial poll and your subsequent inauguration on the 12th of November, 2016 as the Executive Governor of Edo State.

“We wish to formally thank you for the unprecedented support and contributions which you gave to our immediate past Comrade Governor – Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s administration which enabled him to achieve monumental landmarks in the overall development of Edo State during his regime. We earnestly also wish you to sustain as well work assiduously to surpass the legacies of your predecessor in office.”

The Acting Chairman appealed to the Governor to appoint the most suitable persons into his cabinet. He said, “It is our desire that in the course of the selection of persons to form your cabinet in due course, you need to put on your binoculars to screen and ensure that square pegs are ultimately chosen for square holes (especially in the education sector) so that political considerations will not be given pride of place over excellence.”

He called on Governor Obaseki to give the needed support and cooperation to the union as it is the only registered and recognized union that caters for the interest, welfare and condition of primary and secondary school teachers.

He said, “The Nigeria Union of Teachers is the only registered and recognized trade union organization in Nigeria that caters for the interest, welfare and conditions of service of all primary and secondary school teachers as enshrined in all the enabling labour laws in this country. It is our hope that your administration will acknowledge this and give the union all the needed support and cooperation in affairs of teachers in Edo State.”

He expressed gratitude to the State Government for the regular payment of teachers’ salaries, “The union is grateful to Edo State Government for the regular payment of teachers’ salaries despite the economic recession that h gripped many states of the federation. We urge you to continue in that direction.”

The union pledged its loyalty to the administration of Governor Obaseki and wished him and his government great success.

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