Benin city – Edo state Deputy Governor Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu has restated the state government’s determination to ensure a sustainable system of prompt payment of salary and pensioners entitlements for all the eighteen local governments in the state as obtainable at the state level.
Comrade Shaibu stated this while addressing some members of Local Government Pensioners Association (LOGPENAs) who took there protest to Government House, Benin to demand to demand for immediate payment of their pensions and gratuity running into several months of areas.
The deputy governor explained that the present administration is ready to address their problems by paying all the arears ,but insisted that the issues in local government administration which include inability of councils to promptly pay their workers’ salaries , pensions and gratuity must be addressed once and for all.
He said that Governor Obaseki is aware and concerned about the situation of things with local government workers and Pensioners hence he constituted a committee to look into issues in the Internally Generated Revenue and pensions administration with a view to proffering a lasting solution.
“We are ready to pay you soon,but Mr Governor Wants a sustainable system. We can not continue to rely on bailouts. That is why Mr Governor set up a committee headed by myself to look into all the issues of local government. It is not in our interest for government to owe you. And we are not happy to see senior citizens to be on the street protesting under the sun to demand for what is theirs. Every labourer deserves his wages.” Comrade Shaibu explained.
The deputy governor explained further that his committee bad met with leaders of the Pensioners association before and expected that they ought to have given them feedback. “I would have loved your chairman to be here because we discussed all these issues together at a meeting before. The fact is that where we are now is that the committee must complete its work before the rest payment Will be made. And I assure you that very soon all these issues of protests would be over.
We have also discovered that over the years,Internally Generated Revenues of local government have been going into private pockets and the councils heavily relied on statutory allocation from the federation account, including excess crude funds and other wind falls which made the impacts of the massive frauds not seriously felt . Now that such hide amounts are no more, there is a serious problem and every body is talking about bailouts, we can’t entertain bailouts . so, local government internally generated revenue must be activated to ensure sustainability the way it is at the state level.”
Comrade Shaibu stressed that the state government will no longer tolerate fraud in local government pensions and revenue matters in the state. “We are doing everything possible to clean up the system. And I can boldly say that no local government funds are being held by the state government.” He emphasized.
The aggrieved Pensioners who carried placards with different inscriptions, depicting the true situation of things with them,however appealed to the state government to expedite action on the commencement of payment of the arrears so as to ameliorate their sufferings.
Various speakers for the group including the state secretary of LOGPENAS, Comrade Timothy Uwagboe lamented that It was unfortunate that after working for government for good thirty-five years as civil servants they can not get their retirement benefits and entitlements.
They added that the none payment has caused them serious pains as they can not take care of their families while many have died in the process.
They however expressed confidence in the ability of the deputy governor as a Comrade to help them get urgent result as they offered prayers for the state government