GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Sunday admitted that his administration inherited over N100 billion in unpaid pensions under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The governor disclosed this at the third session of the 8th Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, held at Bishop Agori-Iwe Memorial Church, Ughelli, Delta State.
According to the governor, the financial burden forced 18 state governments out of 26 that enlisted under the scheme to withdraw, leaving only eight states, including Delta. He explained that the major challenge which forced the states to withdraw and others not to enroll in the CPS was the huge backlog running into billions of naira.
He said that his administration was up-to-date with payment of pensioners in the old scheme: “We have two types of pensions, the old pension scheme and the Contributory Pension Scheme. Those on the old pension scheme are paid regularly as we pay salaries, but there is a big challenge with those on the Contributory Pension Scheme.
“It is a good scheme but it will take a very long time to solve the issues associated with it. For instance, if somebody had done 15 years before joining the Contributory Pension Scheme, it provides that the government must contribute for those years and it runs into billions of naira.
“Out of 36 states in the country, only 26 states embraced the scheme, but as at today, only eight states are contributing to the scheme. When I assumed office in 2015, what Delta was owing was over N100 billion.
“The state government entered into the scheme in 2007 and up to 2015 no money was paid for past services amounting to over N100 billion. I have paid a few billions but it is a far cry from the over N100 billion we are owing.
“It is something we are committed to and I will continue to do the best that we can and by the time we are able to pay the accruals, it will no longer be a burden to subsequent governments,” he said.
On security, Okowa said it was a tough issue in Nigeria currently, but assured that he would continue to do his best to secure the state. He urged Nigerians to support the states and federal governments with prayers to address insecurity and other challenges.