By Bukar Bolori
Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum has approved N12 billion for the payment of gratuities for 4,862 retirees.
The retirees left both the state and local government civil service between 2013 and 2017.
A statement by the governor’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau on Tuesday said before the latest approval, Zulum had released N3 billion in June and September 2019, to clear gratuities of 1,684 retirees who left the civil service between 2013 to 2019, with most of them lower rank officers, mainly clerks, drivers and messengers.
Gusau said: “Governor Zulum flagged off the payment with symbolic presentation of cheques to some retirees on Tuesday at the Government House in Maiduguri, and explained that the fund was obtained through a loan provided by the Zenith Bank.
He said the Governor noted that while N12 billion was not enough to settle backlog of gratuities, appreciable number of retirees almost 5,000 retirees will be cleared this time around.
The statement said the governor appealed to those who will not benefit from those to share from the N12 billion to be patient, promising that the government is working on settling all gratuities as soon as possible.
The governor said: “The accumulated backlog of gratuities over the years has been worrisome to successive administrations. We are making frantic effort to settle all outstanding gratuities and pension arrears of our retired civil servants. We decided to take far reaching decision to reduce the waiting by retired state and local civil servants in the State. We hope this N12 billion will reduce poverty and stimulate the economy.”
On issues of pension, the governor explained that from May 2019 to date, a total of 770 complaints were received out of which 650 were rectified and already enjoying their pension while awaiting their arrears to be paid soon.
Zulum also recalled that the state government recently completed the rehabilitation of Musa Usman Secretariat, including provision of furnitures, while assuring of his administration’s commitment to sustain the payment of retirement benefits to pensioners as at when due.
The governor also said that the Government has commenced the automatic migration of retirees from salary to pension since May, 2020 and so far over 900 retirees have benefited from the process.