Amby Uneze in Owerri
In the process of due process, accountability and diligence being applied in Imo State Government, especially in capturing of retirees in both the state and local government system, the administration has fished out about 8,549 ghost retirees.
Also, a total monthly savings of about N500 million which would have gone down the pockets of fraudsters is now been saved into the coffers of the state government. The state is now left with the saddle and financial burden of payment of N1.2 billion, a reduction of initial N1.5 billion in May 29, when the new administration assumed office.
The Governor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, disclosed these recently, in his maiden broadcast made in many public and private radio stations in Owerri, while notifying the commencement of payment of pensions to the 24,431 verified retirees.
According to the governor, whereas 5,728 state ghost retirees were fished out after the verification data capture exercise, at the local government level, 2,821 ghost retirees were recorded.
He said the feats were recorded following the reports of the Pensions Investigation, and biometric data verification committees which the State Executive Council adopted, regretting that his administration inherited six years arrears of pensions.
With the above pension’s administration system in place, Ihedioha said a seamless, automated and pensions system had been put in place.
According to him, “Out of 48, 481 available records, comprising 28,658 from the office of the head of service and 19,823 from the Local government Area pension board, a total number of after 24 431 pensioners were verified as authentic database of Imo pensioners.
“That a total amount of N1.5 billion being accrual for state pensioners presented to the state government as at May 29, 2019, has been trimmed down to N1.2 billion.
“This entails a savings of N281 million or 18. 7 percent per month, consequently a total 5,728 or 30.34 percent of ghost pensioners in all were fished out.
“That at the local government evel, at the same period (May 29, 2019) , the amount of N684 million representing the accrual of 14,667 for local government area pensioners was outstanding.
“After the exercise the bill came down to N531 million for an adjusted figure of 11,846 beneficiaries, this represented a monthly savings of N147 million or 21.1 percent. Total number of ghost pensioners for Local Government Area stood at 2, 821 or 19.2 percent of the initial figure”, he stated.
In all, a total savings recorded, the governor said is: “That total savings for both state and local government area pensioners stood at N428 million , this represents the amount of state resources that would have gone into the drains without the necessary due diligence.”
On the youths who participated in the verification and data base for the retirees, he said: “256 Imo Youths drawn from the 27 LGAs and another 800 adhoc staff Imo Youths drawn from the 27 LGA’s were trained and deployed for the pension verification processes and has been enrolled into Imo State Civil Service.”