Payment of Gratuities to Retired Workers in A’Ibom Not Favouritism, Political, Says Govt

Okon Bassey in Uyo 

Akwa Ibom State Government has said that the payment of gratuity to retired workers in the state was not favouritism or political. 

It stressed that retired workers of all categories in the state, who have carried out required documentation are not required to undergo any further procedure before receiving their retirement benefits. 

The government explained that gratuities are paid to retired workers and civil servants in the state based on, ‘first come first serve’ and not favouritism. 

The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Research and Documentation, Mr Essien Ndueso disclosed this during an interview in Uyo. 

Recall that the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Umo Eno in keeping with his campaign promise, recently released another 2.7 billion naira for payment of gratuities to retired workers and leave grants for primary school teachers. 

He said the recent release means that Governor Eno in nine months has paid a total of N14.7 billion for retired workers in the state.

Ndueso, who described the disbursement at a time of harsh economic realities, as a welcome development, added that the governor’s action is another justification that government is a continuum.

He said the governor was naturally inclined to cater to workers and needed no prompting, hence his decision to always set aside money every month for arrears. 

On the rumours that the previous administration was not faithful to the payment of gratuities, Ndueso described those assertions as false, maintaining that the previous administration which paid pensions to date, also made remarkable efforts in clearing backlogs of gratuities. 

“When Mr Udom Emmanuel assumed office in 2015, one of his first actions was the clearing of 10 years arrears of gratuity between 2001 and 2011 for local government workers and primary school teachers,” adding that Governor Eno is fulfilling his pledge to continue from where his predecessor stopped. 

Reiterating that the recent releases of funds for payment of gratuities by Governor Eno are another evidence that government is a continuum, Ndueso said God has been faithful in blessing Akwa Ibom state with people-centric leaders. 

He dismissed the allegations of selective payment of gratuities, admonishing all retired workers to remain calm as the disbursement of funds released for gratuities is done in sequence.

Ndueso said, the government under the leadership of Governor Eno, is always open for feedback on the disbursement processes by the relevant departments.

“No one needs to go and lobby to be considered because the process of payments is clear and systematic. 

“The payments for retired local government workers are handled by the Local Government Pensions Board while the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and a special committee comprising stakeholders like retired teachers, and government officials is saddled with payments for retired teachers,” the governor’s aide stressed. 

He maintained that since there is transparency in the process, those who retired later cannot expect to be paid before their older colleagues.

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