From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
Kaduna state government on Monday distributed cheques amounting to N642.550million to 1080 retirees and next of kin of deceased staff of the 23 local government council education authorities, emirate council of the state as part of their long awaited retirement benefits.
Presenting the cheques to representatives of the beneficiaries from the 23 local councils at the State House, Kawo, Kaduna, Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero said the 23 local government councils have a total number 6,243 pensioners and the sum of N143, 925,521-61 is being spent by government as their monthly pension allowances. The governor said government does not owe any monthly pension allowances, even as he said his administration inherited huge liabilities of pension
arrears for local government pensioners which kept increasing day by day as a result of government implementation of the various salary structures and high number of people retiring from the Service.
“It became my major concern considering the plight and the hardship being experienced by the retirees and next of-kin of the deceased families.
Despite this situation, the state increased its monthly contribution of N13, 030, 805 to N65, 000,000, which is about 400% increase. This increase commenced in March 2014. In the same manner, the 23 Local Government Councils previously were contributing N121, 886,846.61 which has now been increased to N400, 869,729.89 representing 228% increase. The Local Government Councils increase started in June 2014. This is to fast-track the payment and reduces huge pension liabilities that accrued over the years.
“I am also pleased to announce that only last week, I gave an approval for payment of batch 3 and batch 4 for both pension and gratuity of the state government’s pension, which has already been cash-backed. This amounts to N608, 598,701.26.
“As at July 2014, I am proud to inform the general public that, we have settled all pension and substantial part of gratuity liabilities totallingN4, 747,917,247.52. The balance now left is N1, 171,571,663.71 for gratuity, which will be paid as the state’s finances improve.
Yero said government is also increasing access to capital for those engaged in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in partnership with the Bank of Industry n(BoI). “Through this scheme, N1 billion has been provided to support SMEs in the State. Beneficiaries are to receive the loans at 8% interest rates with flexible pay back arrangements,” He stressed.