Despite N14.5 billion Paris Club fund, Akwa Ibom groans under gratuities, pension – Official

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel

The Akwa Ibom Government says the N14.5 billion refund obtained from the Paris Club cannot settle outstanding gratuities and pension owed retirees in the state.

Unyime Usoro, the special adviser to state governor on labour matters, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Uyo on Wednesday.

Mr. Usoro explained that the money was inadequate to offset the backlog accumulated over the years.

“Even if they want to use the entire N14.5 billion Paris club loan, it will not be able to settle all the outstanding gratuities and pension of workers,” he said.

However, the aide assured that part of the money would be used in settling arrears of the gratuities and pension of workers in the state.

“Governor Emmanuel listened to the cry of the pensioners and the labour union which have been battling over the years to see that entitlements are paid by the government,’’ he said.

Mr. Usoro said that the office of the Accountant General and Commissioner for Finance would work out modalities that would be used to settle the outstanding gratuities and pension.

“I think the governor had already done that. It is in black and white when he sent a letter to the House of Assembly asking them to include the money in the 2017 budget,’’ Mr. Usoro said.

The aide said that the money would be paid in batches.

He described the governor as a labour friendly administrator, noting that during the festive periods, he gave largesse, bags of rice and cattle to the labour union in the state.

“I don’t think he would have done that and of course, a lot of other things he has done that makes him to be a labour friendly governor.

“Almost all the requests, the demands that the labour has brought before the governor, he has always done them,’’ he said.

Mr. Usoro, a former state NLC Chairman, said that the governor pays primary school teachers’ salary alongside others promptly.

On the labour movement crisis in the state, he said that several meetings had been held to discuss the problems discomforting the organised labour.

He said that the union resolved that the matter would be addressed internally.

NAN recalls that the Federal Government had released N14.5 billion to the Akwa Ibom government as her share of the Paris Club debt refund to address welfare and development issues in the state.

(NAN)


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