By Laleye Dipo
The Niger State Government has said that it has spent over N20 billion on the payment of pensions and gratuities to its retirees over the last four years.
The Director General of the Niger State Pensions Board, Alhaji who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, also said the amount included death and contract gratuities “left unpaid for several years”.
Mohammed said in the statement that government has also refunded the contributions of 7.5 per cent to those who reverted to the old pension scheme from the New Contributory Pension Scheme.
“This particular action is adjudged as the most unprecedented gesture by any government in the history of pension administration in any state across the federation,” Mohammed declared.
In an apparent reference to a petition by a group in the state which alleged pensioners were going through hard times to get their entitlements, the Director General debunked the claim, saying all those that have been screened and cleared have received their entitlements.
“It is on record that no administration since the inception of Niger State has invested so heavily in pension administration as done from 2016 to date by the administration of His Excellecy Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello,” he said.
Mohammed said it was to remove misconceptions and rumour mongering that the government adopted the policy of publishing the names and amount collected by retirees in some national newspapers.
“We have made it our article of transparency and openness to publish regularly lists of beneficiaries as we make payment for public to be aware. This is also an indication that the administration of His Excellency Abubakar Sani Bello has brought sanity and standardized pension administration in the state,” he stated.
He assured “all Nigerlites that the government and the Pension Board will continue to work assiduously for the welfare of pensioners and all retirees in line with our mandate and as resources are available”.