Bayelsa State Government has constituted a thirteen-member committee to review the pensions and gratuities owed by the various local government councils.
Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo setting up the committee in his office in Yenagoa, expressed worry over the increasing pension liabilities of the LGAs and the need to liquidate them.
He noted that the liability, which is over seven billion naira had become an albatross to the councils.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo said though it is the responsibility of the various councils to pay the pensions and gratuities of their retirees, present realities indicate the need for the state government to intervene.
He therefore charged the committee to determine the number of retirees, amount involved and recommend modalities to generate funds as well as make payment.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who directed the committee to submit their report within four weeks, expressed optimism that government would assist the various councils in defraying their pension liabilities.
In their separate contributions, Secretary to the State Government, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei, Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Barnabas Simon and his Nigerian Union of Local Government Pensioners counterpart, Chief Shell Alafa, lauded the Deputy Governor for the initiative.
Technical Adviser to the Governor on Treasury, Accounts and Revenue, Mr. Timipre Seipulou, is the Chairman, while the Director of Pensions, Local Government Pensions Board will serve as Secretary.
Other members include a representative each from offices of the SSG, Accountant-General, Ministry of Local Government, Heads of Local Government Councils and Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees as well as a representative each from the Deputy Governor’s Office, Directors of Local Government Administration, Medical and Health Workers Union, Local Government Service Commission and the Local Government Pensioners.
The Chairman, Bayelsa State Local Government Pensions Board, Comrade Peter Ebionyo Sagbe, Heads of the eight local government councils with their treasurers and other principal staff attended the meeting.