Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has urged local government pensioners to show a little more patience and understanding, saying efforts were underway to work out modalities for the payment of their gratuities.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo stated this while granting audience to leadership of the Local Government Wing of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners ((NUP), in Government House, Yenagoa.
He pointed out that although the payment of gratuities to retired local government workers was the responsibility of councils, the state government would play a supportive role within the limits of available resources.
According to the Deputy Governor, the State Government is already committing hundreds of millions to support the eight councils on a monthly basis to enable them meet statutory financial obligations.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who assured the people of the present administration’s determination to reposition the local government system for more efficiency, however, urged the various councils to demonstrate greater commitment towards the liquidation of their gratuity and pension liabilities.
Commenting on the present composition of the Local Government Pensions Board, the Deputy Governor said his office would carefully examine the existing law and take appropriate steps as may be required to address the alleged anomalies in the board’s membership.
Responding to the issue of fifteen percent remittance from the councils’ monthly revenue for gratuity payments, he promised that government would look into the matter and ensure compliance with existing financial regulations.
Earlier, Chairman of the Local Government Wing of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners in the state, Chief Shell Alafa, prayed the State Government to come to the aid of the local government retirees in respect of gratuities payment.
Chief Alafa, who thanked the Deputy Governor for always identifying with the plight of workers, pleaded with government to correct some alleged anomalies in the present membership of the local government pensions board and appealed for enforcement of a fifteen percent remittance by the Joint Account Allocation Committee, from the councils’ total income every monthly as provided by law to offset pension and gratuity for their members.