Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government may have decided to pay the outstanding N23 billion entitlements of ex-workers of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL) with the commencement of a verification exercise by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA).
The exercise is for employees who were not audited during the previous exercise.
PICA, which is a unit in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, is conducting the mop up verification for ex-employees of the defunct company who were not audited during last year’s exercise.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last year approved the sum of N45 billion to settle the entitlements of the about 6,000 ex-workers of the company, which was liquidated in 2004.
The president subsequently approved N22 billion last October to settle the former workers who had been verified, leaving about N23 billion outstanding.
A statement issued by the Deputy Director (Information) in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Olajide Oshudun, said the latest verification exercise is to last for a week.
The ministry had earlier conducted a similar exercise in the six geo-political zones in September, 2018.
The latest verification, is holding simultaneously in Lagos and Kano states, and is meant to ensure that all eligible beneficiaries are audited and paid off their entitlements.
The statement disclosed that during an inspection of the exercise at the two centres, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in the Ministry, Dr. Mohammed Dikwa, represented by the Deputy Director Procurement, Mr. Izerebu Iyugun John, stated that, the exercise was in furtherance of the federal government’s commitment to ensure that all former workers of the defunct airways got their benefits
The Permanent Secretary assured the ex-workers at the two centres that the federal government was committed to paying their dues once they were audited, and advised them to cooperate with the verifiers and ensure that they provided all the documents required for the exercise.
The NAL was liquidated in 2004, without its almost 6,000 workers paid any entitlements.
However, following continued agitations by the workers for their entitlements, President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2018, approved that all audited staff of the organisation be paid 50 per cent of their severance entitlements.
While thanking Buhari for the step, the Secretary General of Nigeria Airways Pensioners Union, Segun Adeleke, said his members will ever remain grateful to the president for coming to the rescue of the ex-Nigeria Airways workers, who had lost hope of receiving anything from the government.
The National Vice Chairman of the Union (North), Mohammed Adamu, also thanked the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning for bringing the plights of his members to the president.
Adamu also noted that only about 500 of the ex-Airways workers would be audited in the mop up as most of all the eligible workers had been audited and paid 50 per cent of their severance package after the earlier exercise in September, last year