Benue Needs N70bn to Offset 108 Months’ Pension Arrears, Says Vembe

By Igbawase Ukumba

The Benue State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mr. Micheal Terngu Vembe, yesterday said the state needs about N70 billion to offset the 108 months’ pension arrears it owes pensioners in the state.

Vembe disclosed this when he spoke to journalists shortly after the election of new officials of the Nasarawa State chapter of the NUP in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa State.

He, however, added that the problem of pension payment is a Nigeria factor, and not particularly to Benue State.

According to him, “The fact is that previous administrations did not work to the end, so they left behind piles of pension and gratuity arrears in the state. Pensioners on the state payroll were paid last in May 2018. Those on the payroll of the local government were paid in March 2018.

“So, they are paying arrears. They are not concurrent. Like local government, they have about 74 months arrears on ground, and the state has about 34 months too.”

The Benue NUP chairman, however, said the union was working with the present administration in the state, and the administration was actually cooperating with them, but he, however, lamented that since the pension arrears have been much on ground, the present administration could not cope up.

“What the present administration has agreed with PENCOM, and PENCOM is deducting money from those who are working on monthly basis. It is hoped that on a particular time, they are able to get an approved loan of up to N70 billion, which can clear all the arrears,” he added.

Vembe, therefore, called on the newly elected officials of the Nasarawa State NUP to be very conscious of their, as according to him, “This is not the issue of taking bribe and forgetting about the pension.”

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