THE Kwara Government says previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations in the state left over N11 billion in pension and gratuity arrears.
The state Commissioner for Finance and Planning, Mrs Florence Oyeyemi, confirmed this while addressing the people of Oke-ero LGA at a Town Hall Meeting organised by Rep. Tunji Olawuyi, on Wednesday in Iloffa.
Olawuyi represents Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-ero Federal Constituency of Kwara.
The meeting was tagged: “Ajulo Meets Constituents”.
The Town Hall Meeting is an interactive session cutting across political divides to answer questions on burning issues affecting the people.
Responding to a pensioner who expressed worry over non-payment of his pension, the commissioner blamed the previous governments for such anomaly.
According to her, the previous administrations owed over N11 billion in pension, but “we cannot pay all because of the backlog and the meagre resources at our disposal”.
She however said that over N30 million go to the local government councils monthly, while N100 million go to the state to settle pensioners.
Oyeyemi said that the government was doing its best to ensure pensioners are well taken care of in the state
“This is what the pensioners will share every month. I have backlog of names from Oke-ero LGA and I have to beg to get this,” he said.
She however said that If the union of pensioners in the LGA wanted the state government to be reaching out through the union of pensioners, the state would take it up in order for them to understand how much the sate had facilitated so far.
“If you want us to be presenting reports through your union we will do it. The APC government is committed to payment of gratuity and regular payment of pension and salaries,” she assured.
Mr Bamidele Kayode, another pensioner who spoke at the meeting, however commended Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for prompt payment of pension, adding that the governor should be encouraged to do more.
He said that AbdulRazaq’s reelection would be a fate accomplished, noting that the government is trying in the area of taking care of pensioners.
In her response to LGA autonomy, the commissioner said that would not be feasible, saying “when you talk of financial autonomy, you can only talk of what you understand”.
She explained that local governments in Kwara are autonomous to the extent to which their finances can carry, adding that LGA money does not come through the sate government account but through the LGA account.
She said that the state government borrowed LGAs over N400 million to ensure salaries are paid well ahead of the payment of the local government entitlement from the Federal Government, and that was why they were able to pay prompt salaries. (NAN)