Declare a State of emergency in the Pensions and Gratuity Sector, NUP tells ABSG …As it reviews debt profile of ABSG to Abia pensioners
The Abia State Council of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP have unanimously called on the State Government to immediately pronounce and declare a State of emergency in the Pensions and Gratuity Sector of the economy in order to effectively redeem the “ugly image”.
This call came shortly after the Union holistically reviewed the very huge debt profile of the Abia State Government to the state pensioners which totalled 37 months.
According to the communique jointly signed by the State NUP Acting Chairman, Chief John Ekpendu and Assistant State Secretary, Elder Uma Kalu and made available to newsmen at the end of the council meeting in Umuahia, the body gave the breakdown as follows:
– 2014 * 5 months (August to December);
– 2015 *4 months (January to Apri);
– 2018 *12 months (January to December);
– 2019 *11 months (January to November); and
– 2021 *5 months (August to December).
The Union stated that in the six to seven months (January to June and July) pensions paid in 2021, pensioners got 50 percent or less of their take home package.
The communique partly read:
“The Council is not comfortable that this pension slashing was a unilateral decision of Government which did not specify how long it will last or what will be done about the slashed percentage. These questions are begging for answers and the Council in session demands satisfactory clarifications.
“The Council seriously frowns at the present mode adopted by the Ministry of Finance in remitting check-off dues from the Local Government Pensioners since the Ministry took over the payment of Local Government pensions. This new arrangement shortchanges the Union and should be stopped.
“The Council in session considers as very embarrassing and unacceptable the situation where some pensioners who were verified and captured in the system are being skipped whenever pensions are paid. Moreover, when affected pensioners report the omissions, the error is simply rectified without payment of the resulting arrears. This development seriously affects the amount of checkoff dues earned by the Union. The Council demands that this trend should not continue.
“The Council in session reviewed the recent takeover of Local Government pensions payment by the State Ministry of Finance and regrets that it has done more harm than good with its many hitches and inconsistencies. The Council is not satisfied and therefore demands that Local Government pensions payment should be returned to the newly reconstituted Local Government Pensions Board soonest.
“The Council in session observes with serious concern that the Abia State Government has completely forgotten the issue of gratuity. The Council recalls that payment of gratuity was last made in 2002. This is very unfortunate and should be condemned by all wellmeaning citizens of God’s own state. The Council calls attention of the Government to this serious lack of concern and insensitivity, and hereby demands that deliberate efforts should be made to restore the payment of gratuity to deserving pensioners in the state.
“The Council notes with much regret that the State Government has been very silent concerning the implementation of The Consequential Adjustments arising from the Federal Government Approval of Minimum Wage and Minimum Pension of April, 2019. Pensioners of Abia State deserve to be accorded this sense of belonging. This Council in session demands that Government should set up the relevant Committee for purpose of the implementation.
“The above review of the Pension and Gratuity Payment Position in Abia State, makes it clear that the sector is in a grave crisis situation”.