Sunday, August 7, 2016 3:51 pm
The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has commended the civil servants in the state especially the pensioners for displaying high sense of understanding in the face of the present economic recession.
Governor Aregbesola also lauded the rare contributions of the state retirees towards the upliftment of the state, saying his government would not for whatever reason derail from being sensitive to their plights.
He stated this while presenting Bond Certificates to Retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme organized by the Local Government Staff Pension Bureau, at Multipurpose Hall, Local Government Service Commission, State Secretariat, Osogbo.
Aregbesola said in spite of the tough financial challenges on account of dwindling oil prices and depleted receipts from the federation account, the state has been committed to paying pensions and gratuities to retirees.
The governor recalled that when his administration came on board in 2015, the monthly pension for MDAs and Public Secondary Schools was N200million which his administration increased to N520million.
He said, “In 2010, we committed N400million to pension. In 2011, we increased our monthly pension obligation to N250million and we paid N3billion that year.
“By March, 2012 our Pension obligation rose to N300million monthly which cost N3.5billion. But in December, 2012 about 5,000 retirees were added to the existing 9,000 pensioner in the state and in the following year, 2013, we increased our monthly pension to N520million and paid out N5billion in the same years.
“In 2014, though the economic meltdown had started and we started having difficulties on pension payment, we still committed a total sum of N4.9billion to pension.
He said in spite of dwindling revenues, his administration has been increasing its commitment to pensions as the initiative was borne out of his commitment to the welfare of the senior citizens over whom he has responsibility.
Governor Aregbesola who said the journey to contributory pension began in 2004 with the signing into law of the Contributory Pension Act, said being a participatory scheme, the employee contributed 7.5 per cent of his/her monthly salary while the employer contributed same 7.5 per cent as well as five percent redemption fund to cover the Accrued right benefits in line with rules and regulations as provided by the Pensions Reform Act, 2014.
Aregbesola who disclosed that the set of the current retirees is the third batch that will be obtaining their certificates under his watch since the contributory pension scheme kicked off, saying the first batch of retirees, 78 in number, in the Local Government and primary schools of the state received their retirement bond certificates on December 15, 2014, as the total value of the bonds being five hundred and ninety three million, seven hundred and sixty thousand naira (N593, 774.42K).
He explained further that the second batch consists of 188 retirees in the local governments and primary schools of Osun and received bonds valued at N1.5 billion on September 25, 2015.
According to him, “today’s beneficiaries are 194 retirees in the Local Governments and Primary School of Osun and will receive bonds valued N1.3 billion.
He further asserted that the first batch of retirees, 35 in number in the MDAs and Public Secondary Schools of the state received their retirement Bond Certificates in December 2014 with the total value of the Bonds being N227.4 million.
Aregbesola affirmed that in 2015, the presentation of Bonds Certificates to the 2nd Batch of retirees, 95 in numbers in the MDAs and Public Secondary School of the state took place in December, 2015 with total value of the Bond being the sum of N712.9million.
Governor Aregbesola who assured the state of continuous exercise with availability of fund disclosed that another set, 77 in number will be given their bond certificates very soon with total value of a sum of N617.6million.
Governor Aregbesola lamented over the practice in Nigeria before the oil boom when the then military government by fiat decreed that workers should no longer contribute to their pensions, however held that the contributory pension was a more effective system which put the responsibility for the life-after-work of the employee on both parties with the society also being a beneficiary of the long term savings.
According him, “Today, the chicken has come home to roost with dwindling resources, wages and pensions have come under much difficulties of governments. Most states now find it difficult to pay their active and passive workers, even Federal Government is not left out. In the twilight of the last regime, the Federal Government had to borrow N467billion to pay workers in its last four months”.
Aregbesola who described contributory pension as a win-win scheme, said his administration will ensure that no retiree is shortchanged as everyone would get his or her dues.
Earlier, the Head of Service, Mr. Sunday Owoeye who commended governor Aregbesola for prioritizing the welfare of the state workforce, said in spite the current cash crunch, Osun was ranked to be third after Lagos and River states according to PENCOM.
Mr. Owoeye said the achievement was made because the state was blessed with a visionary and exemplary governor.
He therefore urged the beneficiaries to use the money judiciously.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Local Government Staff Pension, Mr. Kayode Aliu Afolabi said the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme in the state has witnessed many positive developments among which are determination of the actuarial valuable of employees previous periods of service, payment of premium on life insurance for employees among others.
The Permanent Secretary however said the scheme was aimed at assisting all persons in the employment of the state government to save towards their retirement in line with the objectives of the scheme to ensure that persons who leave or retire from the public service receive their benefits as and when due.