2019 Budget Proposal: Obaseki to spend N9bn on pension, arrears, gratuity
…entertainment park gets N500m
The Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration in Edo State plans to sustain the regular payment of pensioners’ entitlements in 2019 to demonstrate its respect for the state’s senior citizens.
In the state’s proposed budget for 2019, the sum of N9billion has been set aside for the payment of gratuity, pension and arrears of pensioners.
Presenting the 2019 Budget Estimates to a session of the Edo State House of Assembly in Benin City, Governor Obaseki said: We will continue to appreciate the labour of our senior citizens whose sweat built our state and its institutions. Therefore, we take the issue of pension payment as our utmost priority.
“In 2018, we have spent N8 billion in pension payment. We plan to spend another N9 billion to pay pension, gratuity as well arears owed from previous years.”
Recall that following the intervention of the governor in the age-long face-off between pensioners and previous governments over arrears spanning over 20 years, the state’s senior citizens have been receiving their entitlements as and when due, ending years of protest marches at Ring Road, Benin City, by the pensioners.
Obaseki also assured that other sectors of the state will receive their share of attention as provided in the 2019 Budget Proposal.
“An entertainment park that will host the creative arts, film and television productions, is being embarked upon. It is designed to tap into the fast-growing industry by harnessing the creative talent of the Edo people, attract investment and create jobs. To this end, N500 million has been set aside for the project,” the governor said.
He added that later in the year, “we will hold the second edition of Edo Festival of Arts and Culture (EDOFEST) to showcase our colourful culture and the potential that lies within the tourism sector.”
According to him, “The Ministry of Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs is in talks with local and foreign investors, who are desirous of investing in our tourist sites.
“Top on the list of these sites are the Sokponba Resort, Kukuruku Hills and the transformation of the popular Benin Moat into a world class tourist centre.
“I wish to announce that in 2019, Edo State will serve as host to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for the annual National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST), Nigeria’s largest cultural event.
“As a people with enviable cultural heritage, the culture and tourism sector is a major plank of our administration.”