Benue State Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu, has assured recently retired local government workers whose biometric data have been captured that arrangements have been concluded for the commencement of payment of their monthly pension as from July, 2016.
Addressing the retirees at the Benue People's House today, Engr. Abounu said the process of including them on the pensioners' payroll had already started insisting that Governor Ortom has directed that there should be no hurdle in the exercise. He said the chairman of the Coalition of the retirees should be included in the committee that would quicken the process of the commencement of payment to them and regretted the delay caused in the past. Engr. Abounu stated that federal allocation to Benue state has been declining pointing out that in June, it was N1.5 billion while the production of oil by Nigeria has reduced from 2.3 million barrels per day to about 600,000 due to the problems created by Niger Delta Avengers. According to him, the problem of payment of gratuity and pension arrears has not been solved because of the state's poor financial condition and pointed out that so far, the Federal Government has not approved any loan or bailout for retirees. He said the small intervension by way of budget support from the federal government which the state has been expecting cannot be used for pension matters but assured that Governor Ortom would was exploring ways to tackle the challenge. The Deputy Governor maintained that contrary to the claim in certain quarters that the infrastructure loan of N10 billion was embezzled or should have been used for payment of salaries, the money which was specifically meant for and was being used for the construction of various roads in the three senatorial districts. Earlier, representatives of the pensioners from the three senatorial districts including their chairman, Mr Michael Vembeh, had told the deputy governor that life was becoming unbearable for them and asked that they should be immediately included in the monthly pension.