Gombe Governor pays N3 billion gratuity to Retirees
Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe
The Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Yahaya has flagged off the payment of N1.3 billion gratuity to local government retirees, from 2012 to 2015 and another N1.7 billion gratuity to the state retirees for 2017 making it a total of N3 billion.
So far, the administration of Governor Yahaya has paid the sum of N7.9 billion to retirees in both state and local government areas.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Governor Yahaya said his administration inherited a backlog of over N21 billion gratuity for both the State and local government area retirees from the past administration, comprising N14 billion outstanding for state pensions obligation and over N7 billion debts for the state pensioners.
Governor Yahaya, however, said State Pensioners from 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 had been paid their entitlements, reducing the debt burden for gratuities by N6.6 billion.
For the payment for retirees in the 11 local government areas, who had not been paid in 11 years, Governor Yahaya said they would be in this round of payment of the total of N1.3 billion, ranging between 1 and 4 years depending on their financial capacities.
“The LGA’s will continue to reduce their backlogs as their finances improve. Total gratuity payment by this administration as at today stands at N7.9bn. Recall that upon assumption of office by this administration all the LGA’s were in red and had to take a loan of N1.3bn to pay salaries, a situation that had persisted throughout the tenure of the past administration,” said Governor Yahaya.
He highlighted the successes his administration had recorded in the local government areas including the timely and constant payment of salaries of local government workers’ salaries without borrowing from the bank, as was previously done.
According to Governor Yahaya, Local Government Areas had been able to undertake capital projects, in conjunction with the state government, through the Joint Projects Development Agency, which he says “Is a brainchild of this administration. All these would not have been possible without our administration’s prudent fiscal management.”
At the state level, Governor Yahaya said his administration had implemented the N30,000 minimum wage since its introduction by the Federal Government and had continued to pay, without fail even as this had increased our wage bill by N2.8bn annually.
He said his administration had also promoted over 104 directors in the state civil service and appointed 13 permanent Secretaries, who had all been duly paid their promotion arrears.
Similarly, the Gombe State Governor said his administration had also approved the promotion of 26,085 staff in the LGAs, Local Education Authority and the Primary Health Care, with their financial implication effective February 2023.
“This exercise has an additional annual financial implication of N1.3bn. Recall that the last time a teacher was promoted in the state was in 2009, The State Government has also recently recruited 1000 teachers into the state service as part of our efforts towards repositioning the state educational sector,” said Governor Yahaya.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor of Gombe State, Manassah Jatau, shared his experience as a retired Customs officer, by commending Governor Yahiya’s sincerity of purpose in keeping his promises to the senior citizens, who have served in the state.
The Chairman, Gratuity and Pension Disbursement Committee, who doubles as the Auditor General of Gombe State, Mr Muhammad Buba Gombe, said since the beginning of the committee’s formation, the governor directed that all retirees should be enrolled in the pension payroll after retirement.
The Governor first released N1.6 billion to settle retirees in the first 100 days of his administration, for retirees in 2014 and again in N1.5 billion for 2015 and another 1.6 for 2016 for the settling of gratuities for the retirees in the state civil service.
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Dasuki Waziri, commended the measures taken by Governor Yahaya to address the problems associated with gratuity payment in the state, in which he said spanned to the past ten years, such that local governments were having difficulties paying salaries.
Mr. Waziri said Governor Yahaya had ensured that the LGAs became financially autonomous, which had made them to be paying the salaries of their workers by themselves to date.
He said the Governor had now directed LGAs that could pay up to four years of gratuities should go ahead and do so.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Yakubu Kala Hinna explained that the retirees are full of appreciation for Governor Inuwa’s faithfulness in payment of their benefits as he promised them, assuring of their unflinching support and that of their families towards his second term bid.