Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji has set up a five man committee to look into the raging issue of outstanding of gratuities to pensioners in the state.
The Governor, while setting up the committee in his office on during a meeting with executives of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) on Tuesday, urged pensioners in the state to have trust in the structure being put in place to look at their welfare and believe in the good intention of government to ensure that all gratuities were paid within a short time.
Members of the committee included the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Akintunde Oyebode; Head of Service, Barr. Bamidele Agbede; Special Adviser on Investment, Trade and Industry, Mrs Tayo Adeola; Special Adviser, Budget, Economic Planning and Performance Management, Mr Niyi Adebayo; Executive Secretary of Ekiti State PITAD, Mr Francis Omotoso.
“The committee will meet with NUP to crack this gratuity nut and I believe strongly that we should be able to have a solution before the end of the year so by January next year, we start to implement the resolution of that committee.”
The Governor added that the committee would have the opportunity to review all issues associated with payment of gratuity and solve the problem permanently.
While restating the commitment of his government to balance merit with wellbeing of citizens, Oyebanji affirmed that consideration would be given to payment of arrears of deductions very soon.
“I am mindful of my promises to you and by the special grace of God, all those things I promised you, I will fulfil them. The hard nut of gratuity, we will crack it. How we are going to do it God will teach us, but I’m aware that I made a promise to you when I came to you that government will set up a team that will sit down with you to discuss this and the time is now.
“I share in your pains, I share your concerns, I’m not happy with what is happening to you and I know that we can turn things around, if we want to do that we have to sit down and crack it ourselves. We have to look at options and possibilities of what is there and we have to have trust in each other, we had a discussion and we came up with some options and I found them to be something that we should try.
“I’m going to plead on something, Trust government intention, I will not do something that will hurt you, I’m not going to play politics with you. I know that mistake has been made in the past and I apologize. Government may be well intentioned but there may be communication gaps, believe that we have learnt from our mistakes. I am pleading with you to have confidence in the structure that we are going to put in place. He said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners in Ekiti, Mr Joel Akinola had commended the Governor for prompt payment of pension since he assumed office in October.
The Chairman used the opportunity to remind the Governor of unpaid arrears of gratuity to both state and local government Pensioners since July, 2013 to the tune of about 37 Billion Naira.
He called for a special law that will make pensioners have easy access to health facilities because of their age.